Michael Camacho is, to most, a new name for jazz vocals. He immediately captures the attention with a cool, comfortable style that displays his knack for absorbing any number of styles. His opening original, "Just For You," allows him to perform a medium tempo scat which, technically, is nothing unusual or outstanding, but does suggest that he is singing this from his heart and not from the jazz singer's textbook.
Johnny Mercer's "I'm Old Fashioned" becomes a bolero with the addition of Norman Hedman's conga, and the Rodgers & Hart's "Blue Room" presents an interesting paradox. While Darryl Peligrini's drum brushes are going a mile-a-minute, Camacho's calmer tenor voice seems almost in counterpoint to the musician. It's hard to tell if this a distraction or a musical treat.
There are several mannerisms present in Camacho's delivery that are reminiscent of Chet Baker; for example, on "I'm Old Fashioned. However, on slow ballads, like Cahn/Stordahl's "I Should Care" and Carmichael/Mercer's "Skylark," the melody seems too dragged out. On "I Should Care," the emergence of other instruments aids the song's presentation immensely.
Almost half of the album consists of Camacho original, which range from ordinary to smartly sung. The best of the bunch is "Here's To the Blues," a swing tune with plenty of room for his sidemen's interjections. Getting involved throughout the album are tenor and soprano saxophonist Dan Block, guitarist Randy Napoleon and some fine solo work from pianist Tim Ragusis, whose sparkling statement on Lennon/McCartney's "Norwegian Wood" is noteworthy.
Camacho presents a likeable and easygoing demeanor that will endear him to an audience, and there is all likelihood that his live appearances are even more impressive than this debut disc.
Just For You; I'm Old Fashioned; Blue Room; My Friend; I Should Care; Hey You; Norwegian Wood; How Can We Be Sure; Skylark; Here's To The Blues; This Is Always; Spanish Harlem.
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