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Todd Gordon: love dot com

Bruce Lindsay By

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love dot com is an album of standards and contemporary jazz/pop songs from Scottish vocalist Todd Gordon. It follows his 2012 release with the Royal Air Force Squadronaires, Helping the Heroes (Specific Jazz) but while that album featured a big band and a series of top-flight guest singers, love dot com is a much gentler affair.

Some excellent, and unexpected, song choices can be found here. Karl Wallinger's "She's The One," Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We" and Roddy Frame's "Somewhere In My Heart" are all beautiful, catchy, songs that sit comfortably with Gordon's approach. Gordon is an avowed Frank Sinatra fan—one reason why he includes Bob Gaudio and Jake Holmes' "Goodbye (She Quietly Says)" on this release. His own approach to singing is smoother than Sinatra's: closer to classy easy listening crooners such as Andy Williams or Jack Jones.

On Helping the Heroes the band and the guest singers helped Gordon to create an atmospheric album—his enjoyment, especially in partnerships with Clare Teal and Jacqui Dankworth, was almost palpable. The musicians on love dot com, recorded at South Korea's Kyung Hee University, lack the drive of the Squadronaires and at times seem uninvolved with the songs—technically able but failing to make that emotional connection. "I Honestly Love You" and "Do You Believe" lack the musical intensity that their lyrics and melodies deserve and come across as lacklustre. Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)" is sung by a grieving son, contemplating suicide by jumping from the top of a tall building—the musicians' detached approach has none of the despair or melancholy such a narrative deserves.

When instrumentalists connect, when their emotional involvement matches their technique, Gordon responds positively and the songs become the stronger as a result. "She's The One" is a case in point, Han Woonki's guitar solo is perfectly-judged. So, too, is Morgan Visconti's "When Hell Freezes Over," with a suitably menacing rhythm and heavy rock guitar. John Lennon's "Julia" works beautifully—Eun Jin Lim's cello matches Gordon's voice for warmth and engagement and the result is the album's most impressive track.

Track Listing: Alone Again (Naturally); Julia; Holding On; Somewhere In My Heart; I Honestly Love You; Goodbye (She Quietly Says); A Little White Ship; She's The One; I Remember Sky; Love Dot Com; Didn't We; Let's Face The Music And Dance; Do You Believe; When Hell Freezes Over.

Personnel: Todd Gordon: vocals; Im Dalkyun: saxophone; David Patrick: piano; Han Woonki: guitar; Martin Zenker: bass; Eun Jin Lim: cello; Jang Seungho: bass (13); Kim Minchan: drums (13); Sunny Kim: vocals (12).

Title: love dot com | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: STEM


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