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Swing is the thing on this debut session from guitarist Harold Fethe. As one who's never lost his love for the Great American Songbook and its lyrical surprises, he's at home with his musical partners on this date: Johnny Frigo (violin), Joe Vito (piano, acoordion) and Jim Cox (bass). Together, they have a good time celebrating the memories.
Take the 'A' Train is converted into a stiff waltz that turns corny in its merry-go-round interpretation. "You Are My Sunshine, which Fethe prefers to let soak in unhurriedly, becomes a slow dirge with violin and accordion. His closing duet with Cox draws upon the song's Southern roots while meandering casually, as if searching for a place to nap.
"Alexander's Ragtime Band provides a brisk, revitalizing march around the block for the quartet, and "This Masquerade weaves its lyrical web with a charming texture. "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise stands out as the session's high point; this swinging affair comes with a lucid guitar solo built on the premise of team effort.
Guest vocalist Joanie Pallatto adds a significant touch of class to the session on "This Masquerade and "Detour Ahead. Frigo, who converses with her in musical terms for sentimental reasons, gives the session an equally significant boost. Most of the album's musical arrangements, however, insert hackneyed phrases into a mix of shopworn and stereotyped clichés. Slowness of spirit and a lethargic tempo hold Fethe back as his lyrical guitar "plays second fiddle to grandiose arrangements that rely on well-worn connotations for their impact.
Track Listing: Out of Nowhere; Cuenca Mercado; Take the ĎAí Train; There Is No Greater Love; Detour Ahead; It Might As Well Be Spring; You and the Night and the Music; Softly As In a Morning Sunrise; You Are My Sunshine; September in the Rain; This Masquerade; Alexanderís Ragtime Band.
Personnel: Harold Fethe: guitar; Johnny Frigo: violin; Joe Vito: piano, accordion; Jim Cox: acoustic bass; Joanie Pallatto: vocal.