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Sarah Morrow: The American All Stars In Paris

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It seems like a familiar story by now. A group of American ex-pat musicians in Paris is well regarded there, despite having little recognition on this side of the Atlantic. Trombonist Sarah Morrow is here joined by veteran saxman Hal Singer, organist Rhoda Scott, bassist Wayne Dockery (a former Jazz Messenger), and drummer John Betsch. Two French musicians also contribute to this loose session.

The album begins with a version of Ziggy Elman's "And The Angels Sing," and the combination of Morrow's tailgatish trombone, Scott's churchy B3, and Singer's gruff tenor give this pieces an almost raggy New Orleans flavor. It is loose and somewhat exciting! The closest that the album gets to swinging is on straight-ahead versions of Nat Adderley's "Worksong" and the standard "Sweet and Lovely," with everyone cohering quite nicely.

Hal Singer, whom I heard in the mid-1950s as Hal "Cornbread" Singer, is from the "tough tenor" school and helped promolgate rock 'n roll with his honking instrumentals. He's a real surprise on this album, and his solo work on "Simone" and "Love For Sale" shows that he's been away too long. Rhoda Scott, with a very long recording career (since 1963), seems to favor a gospel influence without the subtleties of contemporary organists. Her feature, the ballad "I Got It Bad," sounds far too shrill. On the other ballad feature, "You've Changed," Morrow does get an opportunity to display her gift for playing melody.

All in all, it is good to hear these musicians play before an appreciative audience, especially the trombonist, who only has one prior recording out. Perhaps it is time to get them into a studio for a more formalized album.

Track Listing: And The Angels Sing; All Star Boogie; Blue Monk; Worksong; You've Changed; Sweet And Lovely; Simone; Love For Sale; I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good; Honeysuckle Rose.

Personnel: Sarah Morrow: trombone; Hal Singer: tenor saxophone; Rhoda Scott: Hammond B3; Way Dockery, Peter Giron: bass; John Betsch, Jeff Boudreaux: drums; Gary Carney: arrangements.

Title: The American All Stars In Paris | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: O+ Music

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