Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Van Morrison: Keep Me Singing

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Van Morrison remains a beautifully mercurial creative force. Thirty-six discreet recordings into a 52-year career, Morrison has only Ray Charles and Willie Nelson, as poly-genre conquering peers, each of whose reach has proven to be expansive and penetrating. This is a rarified trio, to be sure, a very selective club that needs be no larger. Morrison's last recording of new material, Born to Sing: No Plan B (Blue Note Records, 2012), was an upbeat effort that was, or course all Van Morrison.

In his Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD Richard Cook posited that the late pianist Gene Harris always ended up making the same record...but that was all right, because of the elevated quality of the recordings. If imagination and ingenuity are the measures, Morrison does the same thing. While each of his recordings will have its own personality, they will still be undeniably Van Morrison. Which raised the question, "What is a bad Van Morrison records anyway. Whether listening to his seminal recordings from the 1970s, his Celtic hallucinations of the 1980s, or his idea of jazz in the 1990s, the listener always knew who was in the driver's seat. That blonde Irish honey-and-Quaaludes slur stirred into rock, country, R&B, blues just as well be a part of the grand unified theory of everything.

On his current recording, Keep Me Singing, Morrison turns on the air conditioning and relaxes. There are no hard R&B edges to be found on the baker's dozen of songs here. The singer resurrects Nelson Riddle in Fiachra Tench, who provides lush strings throughout. These strings, along with a copious dose of Hammond B3 seasoned throughout, cushion Morrison's stream-of-conscious lyrics among soft tones and well-behaved melodies. Clever are his lyrics on "Let it Rhyme,"

"Put another coin in the wishing well / Tell everybody just to go to hell / let it rhyme / in time / you'll be mine..."

"The Pen is Mightier than the Sword" is the closest thing to the blues here, with sharper electric guitar and percussion. But it is still tame when compared to "Gloria." Morrison tries to include a "Cyprus Avenue" and "Rough God Goes Riding" on every recording and he has representatives here: "In Tiburon" is a muse on the Bay Area and all of the music made there, while the gospel tinged "Holy Guardian Angel" reminds us that there is something out there bigger than we are. Morrison continues to wind is way down that Gaelic road toward eternity, rarely looking back. He ends things magically with the tuneful and sincere "Caldonia Swing." How Wonderful!

Track Listing: Let It Rhyme; Every Time I See a River; Keep Me Singing; Out in the Cold Again; Memory Lane; The Pen is Mightier than the Sword; Holy Guardian Angel; Share Your Love with Me; In Tiburon; Look Behind the Hill; Going Down to Bangor; Too Late; Caledonia Swing.

Personnel: Van Morrison: vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, alto saxophone; Liam Bradley: drums; Jez Brown: bass; Laurence Cottle: bass, trombone, Lance Ellington: background vocals; Tony Fiztgibbon: violin; Ange Grant: background vocals; Dave Keary: guitars; Anthony Kerr: vibraphone; Paul Moore: bass, Hammond organ, trumpet; Paul Moran: bass, Hammond organ, piano, trumpet; Nigel Price: guitars; John Platania: guitar; Paul Robinson: drums; Robbie Ruggiero: drums; Nicky Scott: bass; Fiachra Tench: Hammond organ, piano, string arrangements; Neal Wilkinson: Drums.

Title: Keep Me Singing | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Caroline International

Tags

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Date Detail Price
Feb5Tue
7:00 pm
Van Morrison
The Wiltern
Los Angeles, CA
Feb6Wed
7:00 pm
Van Morrison
The Wiltern
Los Angeles, CA
Apr24Wed
8:30 pm
Van Morrison, The James Hunter Six
The Chicago Theatre
Chicago, IL
Apr25Thu
8:30 pm
Van Morrison, The James Hunter Six
The Chicago Theatre
Chicago, IL

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Cuarteto Europa CD/LP/Track Review
Cuarteto Europa
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections CD/LP/Track Review
Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Intelsat CD/LP/Track Review
Intelsat
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2018
Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read "Historias Del Pasado Reciente" CD/LP/Track Review Historias Del Pasado Reciente
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 30, 2018
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 1, 2018
Read "Interchange" CD/LP/Track Review Interchange
by Don Phipps
Published: August 2, 2018
Read "Eleven" CD/LP/Track Review Eleven
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2018
Read "Daqa'iq Tudaiq" CD/LP/Track Review Daqa'iq Tudaiq
by James Fleming
Published: November 4, 2018
Read "D'Agala" CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018