Las Vegas-based vocalist Ryan Baker has always had a strong affinity for the standards and as a singer, draws inspiration from the great Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme and others. Timeless Again is Baker's tribute to the classics delivering a vocal jazz album putting his own unique style on oft-recorded songs that make them sound almost new. Originally from Long Island, NY, Baker moved to Vegas in 2003 and has become one of the most in-demand singers in the area singing the Sinatra songbook as a trade mark. The album features a selection of fourteen familiar songs and one original with all arranged by friend and guitarist Joe Lano, a forty-year veteran of the Vegas music scene.
The singer convenes a cast of some of the finest players on the Vegas scene performing in various quartets and trio formats featuring Lano on guitar, Jeff Davis on bass, Eric Tewalt on the reeds and Jess Gopen on the drums as the core band, with pianist Dave Loeb and trumpeter Rocky Lombardo appearing on certain tracks. The Jerome Kern / Ira Gershwin standard "Long Ago and Far Away," begins this journey of timeless classic on a quick-pace tempo punctuated by Lombardo's flugelhorn voice. With Lano's guitar in the lead, Baker fronts a tight trio voicing one of the finest renditions of "Stella by Starlight."
On Torme's dark-styled "Born to Be Blue," both the singer and Tewalt's expressive tenor, make quite an impression on one of the best pieces of the set. Borrowing from the Sinatra songbook, Baker does his impersonation of the Chairman of the Board belting out one of the Icon's favorite tunes accompanied well here by the strings from Lano's guitar and the keys from Loeb's piano. Baker and pianist Loeb deliver a sweet and warm duet on the beautiful "Penthouse Serenade" then switch gears on the following "The Way You Look Tonight" performing a fast-paced, up beat version of the standard featuring appreciable scatting by the singer as the guitarist and saxophonist turn it on.
Guitarist Lano's "Little Beth," is the only original of the album, a balladic piece featuring Baker's soft side and Lombardo doing double duty on both the trumpet and flugelhorn. Staying on the gentle side of the music, the vocalist provides another special treatment of Hoagy Carmichael's immortal "Stardust" while closing on a very unique rendition of Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin' where the melody may be hard to distinguish at first but eventually emerges.
Other notable songs include "Waltz for Debby," "Caravan," and "Alone Together" among others. Singing the standards, the classics from the Great American Songbook, have become something that most vocalists gravitate to at some point during their career. For Las Vegas Singer Ryan Baker, singing timeless classics seems to be something he was born to do from the beginning as Timeless Again reveals so well. Gifted with a vocal instrument quite different from others, Baker seems suited for the music of the ages.
Long Ago and Far Away; Stella By Starlight; Waltz For Debby; Caravan; Born to Be Blue; On A Clear Day; All The Things You Are; Penthouse Serenade; The Way You Look Tonight; Alone Together; Little Beth; I'll String Along With You; The Moon Looks Down and Laughs; Stardust; Ain't Misbehavin.'
Ryan Baker: vocals; Joe Lano: guitar; Jeff Davis: bass; Jess Gopen: drums; Eric Tewalt: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; David Loeb: piano (3, 6, 8, 12, 15); Rocky Lombardo: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 11).
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