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L. Zaide: Planet Chill: Memoirs of a Jazz Band

Dan McClenaghan By

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The black CD cover, the dark sunglasses, the singer's scowling face eclipsed by shadow—a sort of Meet the Beatles shot, minus three, with a big dose of new millennium attitude. You might think you were in for some obstreperous rap sounds. But L. Zaide's Planet Chill showcases the velvet-voiced singer, embracing, with reverence, ten American Songbook classics.

Zaide's vocal delivery has been compared to trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker's—a cool, smooth flow, a relaxed and effortless croon. The similarity is there, but he's much better technically, and a whole bunch deeper emotionally; also mix in some whispery Joao Gilberto gentleness. And speaking of Gilberto, Zaide offers up a marvelous version of Jobim's "Concovado." Cole Porter's "Night & Day" churns through a nice rhythmic upgrade—into an Afro-Cuban mode—after a ballad-time intro with Jon Geever's tenor sax counterpointing Zaide's hushed, androgynous vocal.

Zaide's story is an interesting one. The son of Phillipine immigrants, he migrated—from home base Chicago—to Las Vegas to pursue the perennial day job in Hotel and Entertainment Administration, an occupation that introduced him to some of the gambling/entertainment mecca's finest musicians. A longtime night time gig singer, Zaide decided to hire some of those players to document his love for the songbook classics, resulting in this fine, if oddly tilted effort.

Track Listing: Fly Me to the Moon, I Only Have Eyes For You, I Fall in Love Too Easily, Blue & Sentimental, Night & Day, Corcovado, Blue Moon, April In Paris, Caravan, You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To, Corcovado - The Chill Take, Might & Day - Planet L. Zaide Intro

Personnel: L. Zaide: vocals; Nolan Stolz: drums; Geoff Neumann: bass; Richard Forrester, Joe Lano: guitar; Tony Branco: piano; Jon Geever: saxophone; Gil Kaupp: trumpet.

Title: Planet Chill: Memoirs of a Jazz Band | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Rebel Phi Records

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