Future Street is an outstanding new vocal package from West Coast jazz singer/songwriter Marilyn Harris. First, a brief word about the music. The most adventurous jazz singers will take a jazz standard from the past (e.g. a Wayne Shorter Blue Note classic, a Coleman Hawkins composition from the 1940s, etc.) and set original lyrics to the tune and perhaps instrumental solo. Here, with the exception of Kurt Weill's "Lost in the Stars," Marilyn Harris is working without a net on her own compositions, which happen to sound like they belong to the category of very familiar, and sturdy jazz riffs that sound like they've been in place for some time. Her advantage is that the listener has no preconceived notion as to what the lyrical content ought to be.
The album begins with "Dorothy Parker, based upon a poem written by the title character, told in swinging fashion, and it ends with a ballad highlight "Love Means Never Having to Say Goodbye." The intervening ten tracks offer a lot of laughs, insight and toe tapping. The title tune is treated to a little big band ambiance, with the horn riffs providing a lift. "Sunglasses In The Rain" is a duet with Mark Winkler that has a bouncy AOR-type delivery that is thematically like Donald Fagen's "Walk Between the Raindrops." Harry Connick Jr. could make this a Top 40 hit. A lilting bossa "My Dissipation" is given a tongue-in-cheek set of lyrics that belie the typical Rio lifestyle. "Express" is delivered on a very fast track, with help from vocalist and arranger Mark Wolfram and done a la Lambert Hendricks & Ross.
A large measure of the success of this project is the musicianship of the players gathered for this session. There are soloists featured on every track and solid ensemble work. Andy Martin's trombone, Bill Liston's baritone sax, the flugelhorn of Luening/Bargeron and Dan Higgins sax and flute are just some of the standouts. In his hip liner notes, Bob Dorough says it all without giving the listener any technical information on the tunes, and it is just perfect.
Track Listing: Dorothy Parker, Ain't Got Nothin' On You, Future Street, Sunglasses in the Rain, My Dissipation, In A Lonely Place, Express, Insomniac, Lost in the Stars, Don't Wanna Know, The Good Guys, Love Means Never Having to Say Goodbye.
Personnel: Aggregate Personnel:
Marilyn Harris,vocals and piano; Dave Carpenter,bass; Bob Leatherbarrow, drums, vibraphone; Dan Higgins, Pete Christlieb, Bill Liston, reeds; Warren Luening, Wayne Bargeron,flugelhorn; Andy Martin,trombone; Mark Winkler,vocals(Sunglasses in the Rain); Mark Wolfram,vocals(Express).
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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