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Michael Bubl: It's Time

Woodrow Wilkins By

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Michael Bublé has got momentum and is showing no signs of slowing up. The young singer has gotten a lot of attention in his short recording career. It doesn't hurt that he's getting plenty of promotional assistance from his label, 143/Reprise, a division of Warner Bros. Sadly, that can't be said for many jazz artists. Still, Bublé is making hay with the opportunities afforded him.

On It's Time, he offers thirteen fresh tracks, including his original "Home, and dazzling covers of some classic songs. The first of these is a bluesy, horn-driven rendition of Nina Simone's "Feeling Good. And that is followed by "A Foggy Day (In London Town). Despite its gloomy title, Bublé and his supporting musicians are bright and sunny on this delightful offering.

Just as he's done on his 2003 debut and last year's Come Fly With Me, Bublé gives listeners just enough of the classic arrangement so that the songs all sound familiar, but he delivers them with the heart and passion that only a person who claims ownership of these titles can muster. By making them his own, he makes them relevant to today's audience. In other words, he's keeping it real—but without trying to sound like Sinatra, Tormé, or Bennett. And with a variable lineup of many of modern jazz's finest session musicians—Vinnie Colaiuta, Chris Botti, Christian McBride, and Bill Reichenbach among them—we're treated to a full, orchestral sound on nearly every song.

Bublé credits his grandfather for turning him onto jazz at an early age.

"He asked me, as a favor to him, to learn the songs that he loved so much, Bublé says. "I started practicing 'Stardust' and 'Melancholy Baby' and won a local talent contest, but was disqualified for being underage. So my granddad, who was a plumber, offered to do free work for local musicians in exchange for letting me perform a few numbers with them on stage.

Those humble beginnings paved the way for the 28-year-old Canadian to become a quickly rising star. The new album also includes interpretations of a few more contemporary pop and R&B tunes, such as Leon Russell's "Song for You and Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is. While Bublé does an admirable job with these, his better performances are on the jazz renditions, including a fast-paced, big band tribute to the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love. It's reminiscent of old-school jazz, when singers and musicians lived in the moment. This is easily one of the more energetic tracks on the album, and one that's certain to excite audiences if it becomes part of his live show.

It's Time clocks in at a modest 49 minutes, which is perfect for a vocal jazz album. With the emphasis on the singer, there's no need for extended instrumental solos. Bublé is the front man, and his voice is the star of this show.

Track Listing: Feeling Good; A Foggy Day (In London Town); You Don

Personnel: Michael Bubl

Title: It's Time | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Reprise

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