493

Mark Robinson: Some Small Dive

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
If you're going to go after the Great American Songbook—that is, music by Gershwin, Strayhorn, Mancini, and the like—you'd better bring some style and distinction to the table. San Francisco-based vocalist Mark Robinson does just that, indeed he does, with Some Small Dive, serving up his personal interpretations of a bunch of time-tested classics.

He's got it all: emotional depth, distinctive phrasing—occasionally a tad off-kilter, but never distractingly so—and a pure and unaffected straightforward zest of delivery. He's a vocalist obviously in love with the task he's taken on.

The disc's title is taken from a line in Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life": "I'll live a lush life, In some small dive..." You could call that tune the highlight, but the set is full of them: Henry Mancini's "Days of Wine and Roses," "A Ghost of a Chance," the Gershwins' "Embraceable You," the Henry "Sweets" Edison/Jon Hendricks gem "Centerpiece." For comparisons, Robinson's vocal style is similar to Hendricks', with a bit more buoyancy in the sound.

A beautiful surprise here is Antonio Carlos Jobim's gentle masterpiece "Waters of March." Most vocalists who cover this tune go with the Joao Gilberto hush, but Robinson puts some beef into his rendition, without losing the delicacy. Pianist David Austin works the keys with a tinkling fragility, making for a perfect accompanist/vocalist contrast.

Like the very best in this game—Sinatra or Tony Bennett—Robinson makes it all sound so effortless on this truly superb vocal jazz outing.

Track Listing: East of the Sun; Days of Wine and Roses; I've Got the World on a String; Close Your Eyes; A Ghost of a Chance; I'll Remember You; Lush Life; Embraceable You; I Keep Coming Back to Joe's; Just Friends; I'm Thru With Love; Waters of March; Centerpiece.

Personnel: Mark Robinson: vocals; David Austin: piano; Bob Blankenship: drums; Jeffrey Burr: guitar; Noel Jewkes: tenor saxophone; Mark Williams: bass.

Title: Some Small Dive | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Breaking Even Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Blue Skylight" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Skylight
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 5, 2017
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)" CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Resting in a Fold of the Fog" CD/LP/Track Review Resting in a Fold of the Fog
by John Eyles
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "# 1" CD/LP/Track Review # 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 24, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.