With a top-notch big band right out of the Count Basie tradition, singer James Darren croons with Frank Sinatra’s phrasing and a natural timbre ideally suited for entertaining the masses. Reprising last season’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine character Vic Fontaine, Darren swings with charm and credibility. Aren’t all singers actors? Singing comes naturally to the 63-year-old singer/actor/director whose acting career includes featured roles in several Gidget movies, The Gene Krupa Story (starring Sal Mineo), Westerns, science fiction, and mature drama. As a fully interactive hologram on television last season, Darren was quite convincing as a 1960’s Rat Pack casino entertainer. Although his role loses some in translation from visual (film) to audio (CD), his strength and energy shine through and you can "hear" that big smile on Darren’s face as he watches the crowd.
The supporting cast for This One’s From The Heart includes some of the best current stars of Hollywood behind the scenes. Alan Broadbent’s arrangement of "Sophisticated Lady," for piano, bass, guitar, and drums, adds Warren Luening’s warm muted trumpet in a friendly interlude. Luening shines again on "The Way You Look Tonight" with flugelhorn, as he takes the melody from Darren, remakes it, and then shares with the singer as they go out. Pete Christlieb’s interlude on "I’ve Got the World on a String" exhibits his trademark bent notes and emotional outbursts. The saxophonist is featured again on "Dancing in the Dark" and "Here’s to the Losers," where he’s joined by a pleasant Ron Eschete solo spot. Sammy Nestico’s arrangement of "Satin Doll" sweeps up all the instrumental voices at once but ensures that the singer is featured clearly and in a good light. Just like the spotlights and makeup artists who can make or break a scene, Darren’s band and orchestra provide the best aural environment for him. Other big band tracks include "Night And Day," "I’ve Got You Under My Skin" and "You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You." Patrick Williams’ arrangement of "That Old Black Magic" swirls energetically around a solid unison riff from George Roberts and Chuck Berghofer. Strings color "The Way You Look Tonight," "I’ve Got the World On A String," "All The Way," and a few others. All this stellar support puts Darren’s phrasing and energetic swinging approach in its best light. Hopefully, his next jazz albums will also include this kind of all-star support.
Track Listing: The Best is Yet to Come; Come Fly With Me; That Old Black Magic; All The Way; It
Personnel: James Darren- vocals; Tom Ranier- piano; Chuck Berghofer- bass; Gregg Field- drums; Ron Eschete- guitar; Warren Luening- trumpet, flugelhorn; Pete Christlieb- tenor saxophone; Big Band: John Pisano- guitar; Bob Zimitti- percussion; Warren Luening- trumpet, flugelhorn; Rick Baptist, Wayne Bergeron, Larry Hall- trumpet; Charlie Loper, Alex Iles, Bruce Otto- trombone; George Roberts- bass trombone; Gary Foster, Dan Higgins- alto saxophone; Gene Cipriano, Terry Harrington- tenor saxophone; Let Callett- baritone saxophone; Peter Matz- big band conductor; Patrick Williams- big band conductor on "That Old Black Magic;" Sammy Nestico- big band conductor on "Satin Doll;" Gregg Field- orchestra conductor; Strings: Ralph Morrison- concertmaster, violin; David Stenske, Carolyn Osborn, Gwenn Heller, Tiffany Hu, Jennifer Walton, Eve Butler, Kirsten Fife, Amy Hershberger, Jayme Miller, Leslie Woodbury, Virginia Frazier- violin; Kazi Pitelka, Mimi Granat, Ray Tischer, Darren McCann- viola; Ray Kelley, Tim Landauer, Cecilia Tsan, Paul Cohen- cello; Alan Broadbent- conductor; Lou Forestieri- conductor on "The Way You Look Tonight;" Peter Matz- conductor on "I
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.