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The opener on multiple-reedman/vocalist Paul VornHagen's Kindred Spirits, "Namely You," kicks the set off on a relaxed straight-ahead vibe, with the leader blowing a robust tenor sax lead. The sound feels loose, like Ben Webster—Ellington's most famous tenor saxophonist—playing out in front of a bunch of top-notch accompanists. Cal Tjader's "Mindanao," featuring VornHagen on flute, takes things into a more propulsive and urgent mood.
The surprise, after two great instrumental tracks, is Burton Lane's "Your My Thrill." VornHagen's high tenor vocals have a rich, androgynous timbre, and when he blows in on soprano sax, the horn sound mirrors the leader's smooth singing chops.
"On a Clear Day" bops along, up-tempo, with the vocalist in a hip mode before he goes into a cool burn on the alto horn.
The vocal/instrumental mix keeps the set interesting; here's betting the band(s) put on a killer live show. The accompanists, two separate bands for the two sessions that make up this set, shift from loose to tight grooves effortlessly.
On "In the Wee Small Hours," covered most famously by Frank Sinatra, VornHagen and crew maintain the Chairman's deeply pensive and melancholy mood, with a smoldering tenor sax solo by the leader, and a gorgeous piece of piano solo delicacy and grace by Cliff Monear.
By the time "I'm Old Fashioned," the closer, rolls around, I was hoping for a vocal rendition, but VornHagen's on soprano sax here, and he doesn't disappoint, sounding crisp and clean, leading the band in a sparkling up-tempo version of this classic tune. It's a fitting wrap-up. Kindred Spirits is good old fashioned classic jazz.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com