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Bob Almond: Velvet Horn

Nic Jones By

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Bob Almond is a man on a mission, driven by the fact that he once stood next to Mel Tormé in a Boston bar. Since that occasion he has not only become a teetotaler but has also been striving to become to jazz singing what Spiro T. Agnew was to unbridled lust. In that aim he has largely succeeded.

On Velvet Horn Almond is usually accompanied only by bassist Travis Gillman, apparently a man of infinite patience and almost Zen-like calm, both qualities he apparently had to make much use of during the making of this disc.

So intimate is the recording quality here that close listening reveals Almond wiping his hands on his polyester slacks during "Moon River" and "I'll Forget About It When I Go," an Almond original. The double-tracking of his voice on the latter piece doesn't amount to double the fun, however, especially when he uses a higher voice on one of the tracks and succeeds only in revealing that he can't harmonise with himself.

Almond's second wife left him in May of 2000, after what she's alleged to have described as "two and a half weeks of hell" since their wedding in April of the same year. Her absence was and is keenly felt by the vocalist, as demonstrated on "That Bitch Sue Can Sue," which turns out to be something other than the kind of upbeat froth the listener might expect.

Almond's sense of mission sustained him through this bad time, and he wrote "Four Years Without Pity In A Town Without A Drive-In" during it. He was so unjustifiably pleased with the song that he approached Hank Jones with a request to accompany him on it, but got no further than standing in the same room as the pianist during a reception to which Almond hadn't been invited, but to which he managed to get admission through posing as a fire alarm system maintenance man.

If belief alone was enough to build a career in the music business, then Bob Almond would be on a par with the false prophet. As it is, one can only admire his misplaced resilience.

Track Listing: That Bitch Sue Can Sue; Lullaby Of Birdland; It Looks Like Rain On Cherry Blossom Lane; Moon River; You Took Advantage Of Me; I Thought About You; Autumn Of My Years; Autumn Leaves; Four Years Without Pity In A Town Without A Drive-In; I Didn

Personnel: Bob Almond: vocals; Travis Gillman: bass. Plus Geoff Langtry: piano; Harry Feeble: alto and baritone saxophone.

Title: Velvet Horn | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Velvet Horn

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