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...

428

The Oster Welker Jazz Alliance: Shining Hour

Suzanne Lorge By

Sign in to view read count
San-Francisco-based Jeff Oster has one of those happy-sounding voices that make you feel happy, too. Even a depressing kind of song like "Sophisticated Lady" leaves the impression that, after all of that "smoking-drinking-never-thinking-of-tomorrow" stuff, everything will turn out okay. But it isn't until Oster scats that you really submit to his affable sound and just want to be BJFF (best jazz friends forever).

Oster is no newcomer to vocal jazz, but he's not yet received the kind of attention that his ability might have garnered. After an early foray into professional singing, Oster took a 20-year hiatus to raise his family; one propitious evening in 2006 he stumbled into the sightlines (or "earlines," perhaps) of Peter Welker and sat in with the trumpeter's band.

On the Oster Welker Jazz Alliance's first CD Shining Hour, the pair offers up a shared vision of 11 mostly-known jazz standards and a couple of lesser-known tunes—like the opener, "Sweet Pumpkin," a swinging, almost-forgotten ditty that introduces Welker as a master arranger and the backing big band as both singer-friendly and a musical force in its own right.

Despite the deserved focus on Oster's vocals, Welker's band has plenty of solo time throughout the recording, on the title cut and most notably on Oster's vocalese original, "Bean." To emphasize the contribution of the instrumentalists to the recording, an asterisk appears next to each soloist's name in the song listings—would that more vocal albums provided such a handy reference. One curious thing, though: Welker plays second trumpet throughout the disc but only solos once, on flugelhorn, dropping in and out with some mournful measures on the closing number, "A Time For Love." One might regret his modesty.

One of the sweet surprises on the disc is the team's mid-tempo swing version of "Laura," a beautiful melody rarely performed by singers, given the dearth of singers in the genre who can take on the lyrics (in short, it's a guy's tune). True, there aren't a lot of guys singing jazz these days, but the ones who are—like Oster—dazzle all the more for their rarity.

Track Listing: Sweet Pumpkin; Sophisticated Lady; This Masquerade; Laura; I Keep Going Back To Joe's; Bean; Young and Foolish; Speak Low; My Shining Hour; My Foolish Heart; Groovin' High; Bluesette; A Time for Love.

Personnel: Jeff Oster: vocals; Peter Welker: trumpet, flugelhorn; Michael Whitwell: lead trumpet, flugelhorn; Fred Lipsius: alto sax, piano; Andrew Speight, Jim Rothermel: alto sax; Mel Martin, Rob Roth: tenor sax; Scott Petersen: tenor, baritone sax; Johnny Bamont: baritone sax; Dave Mathews, Matt Clark: piano; Pete Levin: piano, string synth, B3 organ; Randy Vincent: guitar; Chris Amberger: acoustic bass; Kevin Dillon, Louis Romero: drums, percussion.

Title: Shining Hour | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Jazzed Media

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Live In Belgium" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Belgium
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Cosmic Playground" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "For the Love of You" CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be" CD/LP/Track Review God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be
by Chris May
Published: April 12, 2018
Read "Backstage Pass" CD/LP/Track Review Backstage Pass
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "No Matter Where Noir" CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017