Eric Comstock: No One Knows


Sign in to view read count
Eric Comstock: No One Knows Wow! There are simply not enough superlatives for this CD. Eric Comstock "owns" the Great American Songbook like Tony Bennett and Mel Torme, and he is one of the best of the crop of young jazz singers and song stylists to come along in recent years. Blessed with perfect intonation and incredible enunciation, Comstock does equal justice to both music and words. His piano work is elegant and his arrangements are both witty and at times erudite. Although he's a young performer, Comstock has a maturity that belies his youth. All in all, No One Knows can be summed up in two words: pure class.

Comstock begins the album with "Easy on the Heart," a beautiful slow ballad by bassist Charlie Haden, to which legendary Basie tenor saxophonist Frank Wess contributes a full-throated obbligato. The title song, "No One Knows," is a little-known tune by Billy Strayhorn, a wistful remembrance of unrequited love that—like Strayhorn's "Lush Life"—manages to combine heartbreaking sentimentality with just a dollop of cynical Weltschmerz. Comstock also performs Strayhorn's "Grievin'," as well as Strayhorn collaborator Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "Jump for Joy." On the latter tune, pianist Eric Reed acquits himself nicely with an up-tempo stride piano solo.

Frank Wess graces the album with his distinctive flute on Benny Carter's "When Lights Are Low." Comstock and his fine rhythm section play this song perfectly with an easy, swinging gracefulness. I was also very impressed with Comstock's understated version of Burton Lane's "Old Devil Moon." By slowing down the tempo of this song, Comstock was able to bring a whole new interpretation to the tune. Lane's "I Hear Music" concludes the album.

One hallmark of Comstock's interpretive skills is the attention that he pays to the verses of songs. Too often singers will race through the verses of tunes like they are reading the legal disclaimers in Ronco ads on television. Unlike the infantile lyrics of many rock tunes, the words of a great song actually have something important to say. But the clarity of Comstock's voice is the real revelation. After daily media bombardment by Mick Jagger's hyena-like barking, Dylan's autistic mumblings, and 50 Cent's simian gutteral utterances, along comes the perfect vocal technique of Eric Comstock. Comstock may not represent the salvation of Western civilization, but at least we know that the Great American Songbook will continue to live on for those who know that high quality and popular song need not be mutually exclusive terms.

Track Listing: 1. Easy on the Heart 2. To the Ends of the Earth 3. No One Knows 4. Don't Get Around Much Anymore 5. Jump for Joy 6. Small World 7. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes 8. Grievin' 9. Imagination 10. I Do It for Your Love 11. Hazel's Hips 12. When Lights Are Low 13. Old Devil Moon 14. There Will Never Be Another You 15. If I Had My Druthers 16. I Hear Music

Personnel: Eric Comstock, vocals, piano; Frank Wess, tenor saxophone, flute; Wycliffe Gordon, trombone; Eric Reed, piano; Peter Bernstein, guitar; Peter Washington, bass; Matt Wilson, drums

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Harbinger | Style: Vocal


More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Some Morning" CD/LP/Track Review Some Morning
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Vyamanikal" CD/LP/Track Review Vyamanikal
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Zanshin" CD/LP/Track Review Zanshin
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 3, 2016
Read "Warp" CD/LP/Track Review Warp
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!