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Vocalists always seem to get the short end of the jazz stick. Even back in the Swing Era, the female singers standing in front of the bands were called "the birds" and were not considered musicians by the players.
Be that as it may, Rick Blessing is a wonderful vocalist and songwriter so thoroughly in touch with the style of the fifties and sixties swinging jazz/pop singer, that you would think he really is his father's age. Having grown up with this music in his house and watching the music die as he grew up, he wanted to bring it back. So he created I'm Just The Guy For You.
Instead of recording an album of the standards that he so loves, Blessing wrote fourteen songs that are dead- on in that style. The total effect of his delivery, the arrangements, background singers and not the least of the well-crafted lyrics is a very believable mix of originality from within the past.
The words crackle and rhyme about flirting, falling in love, sophisticated clubs with tablecloths and martinis. The backup band does not try to overreach and is right in the pocket, creating the perfect musical environment, down to the backup singers.
Blessing has one of those effortless voices that is smooth as silk, and right on pitch. His diction allows all of the words to be heard clearly, which is important because many of his lyrics are quite witty and constructed to surprise by having the rhymes fall in different parts of the phrase.
Not for the jaded, I'm Just The Guy For You is a real breath of fresh air. It admirably succeeds in creating a smile and the strong desire to be able to sit at a table with a white tableclothin a tuxedosipping a very dry martini. Thanks, Rick.
Track Listing: I'm Just The Guy For You; Off The Tracks; Love Rules Tonight; Little Samba Serenade; Melanie; Mexico; Jazzman; The Girl On the Next Floor Up; Mr. And Mrs. Smith; That's The Boulevard; Lover's Holiday; Mostly Mental Me; Martini Thumb; Wonderful You.
Personnel: Rick Blessing: vocals; Daniel May: piano; Benjamin May: bass; Gary Gibbons: drums; Larry Koonse: guitar; Ron
Stout: trumpet; Penny Watson: tenor, alto and soprano sax; Beth Wood: background vocals; Penny Watson:
Year Released: 2007
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Vocal
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.