Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

John Proulx: Say It

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
This fourth date from John Proulx clearly marks a new chapter in his career. After delivering three albums on the now-defunct MAXJAZZ imprint, and after a hiatus from recording under his own name, this triple-threat vocalist-pianist-composer returns with his first independently-produced offering. The music spotlights a man who's grown more comfortable in his skin and lived more of what life has to offer.

With a band stacked with West Coast heavyweights, a playlist marked by eclectic material highlighting his myriad gifts, and a producer—in vocalist Judy Wexler—adept at shaping an album, Proulx has everything in its right place. Say It sets sail with a swinging "Gentle Rain" that immediately juxtaposes his cool school vocals against brighter backing. Whether delivering the lyrics, trading solos with drummer Joe LaBarbera, or running a unison line down with guitarist Larry Koonse, he seems to sit squarely in his wide comfort zone. The same goes on what immediately follows—a lightly funky and humorous stroll through Michael Franks' "Scatsville," a nostalgia-laced "The Summer Knows" emotionally augmented by Alan Broadbent's string arrangement, and a "Watch What Happens" with backbeat bonhomie.

The title track, anchored by a signature bass line and offering space to Koonse's guitar, is, like Proulx himself, a model of poise. Everything just sounds and feels natural. That ease of expression surfaces time and again—on the stop-time blues cruise through Mose Allison's "I Don't Worry About A Thing," the sentimental journey across Broadbent's "The Last Goodbye," a meeting with guest vocalist Melissa Manchester on their co-penned "Stained Glass," a cheerier-than-the-norm skip through Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's "Something To Live For"—and it's central to the success of his work. Proulx is honest to the core—check out his album-closing take on Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" for further proof. Ultimately, it's that genuine quality that sets this music apart.

Track Listing: Gentle Rain; Scatsville; The Summer Knows; Watch What Happens; Say It; I Don’t Worry About a Thing; The Last Goodbye; Stained Glass; Something to Live For; Both Sides Now.

Personnel: John Proulx: piano, vocals; Chuck Berghofer: bass; Joe LaBarbera: drums; Larry Koonse: guitar; Bob Sheppard: tenor sax, soprano sax; Billy Hulting: auxiliary percussion; Melissa Manchester: vocals; The Gina Kronstadt Strings-Gina Kronstadt: violin; Susan Chatman: violin; Rodney Wurtz: viola; Stefanie Fife: cello.

Title: Say It | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ArtistShare

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review
Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard
by Doug Collette
Published: December 13, 2018
Read The Forest from Above CD/LP/Track Review
The Forest from Above
by John Eyles
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Imaginary Band CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Band
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Night CD/LP/Track Review
Night
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 13, 2018
Read An Ayler Xmas Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
An Ayler Xmas Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2018
Read I Always Knew CD/LP/Track Review
I Always Knew
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 12, 2018
Read "Unbreakable" CD/LP/Track Review Unbreakable
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: July 31, 2018
Read "Confessin' The Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Confessin' The Blues
by Doug Collette
Published: November 25, 2018
Read "In-House Science" CD/LP/Track Review In-House Science
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 9, 2018
Read "West Side Story Reimagined" CD/LP/Track Review West Side Story Reimagined
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 29, 2018
Read "The Snowghost Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Snowghost Sessions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 3, 2018
Read "Presence" CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 3, 2018