Jazz vocalist Marcus Goldhaber's debut album, The Moment After
, reveals quite an interesting family history. Goldhaber's love of the Great American Songbook stems from the many times his mother would gather all around the 1928 Ivers & Pond upright piano and call out to young Marcus, "This one, you should know"in the same manner that her parents had done when she was the same age as him. In a sense, this Buffalo, New York griot (forgive me, Goldhabers) was passing along an aural tradition that worked wonders, insofar as instilling the respect and familiarity with the great tunes of the Twentieth Century. I'm sorry that the album wasn't titled "This One, You Should Know"!
Listening to The Moment After, I'm tempted to say that Marcus Goldhaber sounds like someone else. The press sheet suggests that Goldhaber will remind you of John Pizzarelli, Harry Connick, Jr., Chet Baker, Michael Bublé and a young Frank Sinatra, and I have the distinct feeling that he is being marketed as someone worthy of joining the above circle of male vocalists. Goldhaber does indeed bear lots of similarities, especially to Pizzarelli and Baker, and that is to his credit. His voice, however, is not quite as distinctive as either's, but let's give him points for trying.
Always looking to judge a new jazz vocalist by his material and delivery, I was impressed. Goldhaber inserts rarely heard verses that work quite well, dramatically. The opener, the Waller/Rasaf "Honeysuckle Rose," is a good example. The balladic verse opens up into a swinging refrain, and during the instrumental break, pianist Jon Davis turns this number into a hand-clapper. Likewise on the Turk/Ablert piece "Walking My Baby Back Home," another Pizzarelli staple, Goldhaber makes use of the same sense of mid-tempo swing that the guitarist/singer has employed so successfully. Other intriguing use of verses occur on "Be Careful, It's My Heart," from the pen of Irving Berlin, and the Waller/Rasaf tune "Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now."
On the ballads, Goldhaber uses more of his upper register, suggesting the attitude and style of Chet Baker, as on his performance of the Van Heusen/Burke piece "Like Someone in Love" or the Brown/Fain standard "That Old Feeling." I don't believe that Goldhaber is purposefully invoking the styles of Baker or Pizzarellirather, he seems to gravitate towards that style as a personal preference, and for that reason, I consider him much more of a jazz vocalist than someone like Michael Bublé.
The selections continue with additional pleasantries including a version of the hard-to-find showstopper "You're Gonna Hear From Me," which was an Andre and Dory Previn song written for the mid-1960s film Inside Daisy Clover. At one time, every vocalist worth their salt was trying out that tune, but it has now virtually disappeared. Let's see if American Idol picks up on it!