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Marlene VerPlanck has been recording since 1955. In round numbers, that is 60 years. She is a natural singer in the same way that Frank Sinatra, Roseanna Vitro, and Lyn Stanley are natural singers... they open their respective mouths and music just comes out. And, at the far end of this career, VerPlanck sounds very good. Age has not diminished her singing as it has in many of her peers singing at the bright age of 82. So, immediately, hats off to Marlene VerPlanck for her durability and high talent.
VerPlanck specializes in the Great American Songbook, but likes to focus on its marginalia. She has become a specialist in finding and performing those songs handwritten to the sides of the main entries. Maybe the most "standard" of the dozen standards Verplanck addresses on the current The Mood I'm In is Billy Eckstine's "I Want to Talk About You." This career approach goes far in enlarging the GASB. "It Shouldn't Happen in a Dream," and "All Too Soon" are Ellington artifacts deserving the daylight. The Lerner and Lane "Too Late Now" is fittingly introspective and brief as the disc's coda. Her programming of this disc is exceptional.
Ditto for her band, which includes her longtime pianist John Pearce. VerPlanck's piano trio rhythm section is augmented by trombonist Mark Nighting and reeds/flautist Andy Panayi. Together, they provide the recording a soft overtone with just enough bite to ensure the swing is genuine. Genuine...that is how I would describe Marlene VerPlanck's art and delivery. It is as real as sunshine.
The Mood I’m In’ Me and the Blues’ Free and Easy; It Shouldn’t Happen
to a Dream; Certain People; I want to Talk About You; Come on Strong;
All Too Soon; It Started All Over Again / Second Time Around; This is
Always; My Kind of Trouble is You; Too Late Now.
Marlene VerPlanck: vocal; John Pearce: piano; Paul Morgan: bass;
Bobby Worth: drums; Mark Nightingale: trombone; Andy Panayi: