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Dave Tull: texting and driving

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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Wallflower. The word has zero application to describe jazz drummer, vocalist and composer/arranger/producer, Dave Tull. He's more like a Venus Fly-Trap of talent, devouring all those activities and offering a keen eye for life's surrealities. He demos all on his second CD, texting and driving. It might just be what's needed for a long, endless drive from, say, St. Louis to Gallup, New Mexico.

Tull's drum credits are formidable—with Barbra Streisand (whose legendary pickiness imprimaturs Tull's chops), performing with Chuck Mangione, et al. With texting and driving Tull offers 15 (that's a plenty!) solid, swinging selections—all engaging originals—in which he vocalizes, vocaleses, and, with an elite cadre of L.A.'s best (Cheryl Bentyne, Wayne Bergeron, Doug Webb, George Stone, et al), does all that splendidly.

The title-related tune, "The Texting Song" launches the upbeat session with Tull backed by a cooking big band. And, while s(w)inging, he weaves fine lyric, hipster vocalese, and scat. "Henrietta" is a lilting woodwind-backed boy-meets-girl-with-unique-sobriquet thing. Lush strings embrace Tull's fine romancing, a la Jackie Cain and Roy Kral) with Inga Swearingen on the ballad "The Moment." "Please Tell Me Your Name" Latins away with some tasty Lou Rawls vocal embellishments on the swing section. He gets funky on the side-winding "The Stoplight at the End of the Street," too.

Vocally, Tull is more jazzer than pure crooner—think Dave Frishberg, or, perhaps Scatman supreme, Giacomo Gates. He's got solid pipes that invite. His vocal dexterity and word-work is hand-glove with the material throughout. You can't help but really like this Cat. He puts his own tasty seasoning on his recipes of "I'm Forever in a Fog," as well as on the Antonio Carlos Jobim-esque "I Will Sing to You" and on the ballad, "Tell Me that I'm Wrong").

As a composer/lyricist, Tull homers with smarts, wry humor, and pungency throughout the session, on tunes like the faux admonishment, "Please Watch Your Kid," the tasty contrapuntal duet with Bentyne on "The Date," the soul-slick "Clapping on One and Three," and the boss bossa complete with neat Tull set work, "You Remind Me." "I'm So Confused," a flashback ballad with a tasty Les Benedict bone ride that could "reflect" an Astaire classic and the carefree stroll, "Fly By the Seat of My Pants" close the session.

texting and driving is a marvelous panorama of Tull's and his pals' talents. Go for a ride and enjoy "Tull's Merry Pranks"—but, you take the wheel; he's rather involved with his fine texting and driving.

Track Listing: The Texting Song; Henrietta; The Moment; Please Tell Me Your Name; I'm Forever in a Fog; I Will Sing to You; The Stoplight At the End of the Street; Tell Me That I'm Wrong; Watch Your Kid; The Date; Clapping on One and three; This Summer Night; You Remind Me; I'm So Confused; Fly By the Seat of My Pants.

Personnel: Dave Tull: drums, vocals; Randy Porter: piano; Randy Waldman: piano (1); Larry Koonse: guitar (1,4,6,15); Kevin Axt: basses; Wayne Bergeron: trumpet (1,4,7,14); Dog Webb: saxes (1,4,7,11,14,15), clarinet (8); Cheryl Bentyne: vocal (10); George Stone: piano, flugelhorn (3), trumpet (9); Les Benedict: trombone (14); Inga Swearingen: vocals (3); Peter Olstad: trumpet (1,4,); Mike Guiterrez: trumpet (1,4); Dave Becker: flute, clarinets (2), saxes (9); Andy MArtin: trombone (1,4,7); Bill Hulting: percussion (6,13); Brynn Albanese: violin (3); Peter Jandula-Clark: viola (3); Ken Hustad: cello (3).

Title: texting and driving | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Toy Car Records

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