As the title hints, the focus of drummer/composer Chip White's Music and Lyrics is the batch of original songs White came up with for the album. Unlike the standard material that tends to appear on a majority of new jazz vocal albums, White also penned lyrics for eight of the twelve tunes, sung here by Gail Allen. It is indeed refreshing to hear a vocal album featuring new songs, rather than some overworked standards. Of course, that novelty would amount to little if White's songs were sub par. Luckily, the new songs are musically and lyrically accomplished, very much in the style of the Great American Songbook, with nods to bossa nova.
Rain is languorous, with dramatic work from Allen and a fine, delicate piano solo by Lafayette Harris. "October Song is sprightlier, helped along by a quick, witty rhyme scheme devised by White. As on the other performances, the sense that Allen is not the "star of the album leads to a fine integration of vocals and instruments. The other musicians are given an equal opportunity to make their own statements. The results are delightfully retro performances that hearken back to the era when singers were simply parts of bands, and not the featured attraction. The songs have a real flowthey do not stop for solos merely so the singer can catch her breath.
Music and Lyrics is a real joy that's admirably eloquent in both music and lyrics, and White and his band mates pull off this ambitious effort with aplomb.
Track Listing: Blues For Cousin Alice; The Luckiest Girl; Bossa De Bahia; Drums On The Riverside; Rain;
October Song; Club 609; The Contessa; 28 Drums; I Never Knew; Circle Dance; Time Stood
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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