All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Cubafonía" CD/LP/Track Review Cubafonía
by Matt Hooke
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "Partir" CD/LP/Track Review Partir
by John Kelman
Published: May 30, 2018
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: May 16, 2018
Read "Chain" CD/LP/Track Review Chain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Scenes from an Italian: The Billy Joel Project" CD/LP/Track Review Scenes from an Italian: The Billy Joel Project
by Jim Olin
Published: July 8, 2018
Read "Quiet Life" CD/LP/Track Review Quiet Life
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 5, 2017