118

Van Morrison: What

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
For those readers who may think that Van Morrison has no business recording for Blue Note Records, I have just two words...



Norah Jones.



What’s Wrong with Picture? is Morrison’s debut on the jazz label and I suppose it is jazzy enough. He provides his characteristic Celtic blue-eyed soul over a broad landscape of musical styles. The blues play a big part, of course, and show up in the some spectacular iterations. The title cut and disc opener is a plush crooning vehicle with strings and bass clarinet that curiously reminds me of Eddie Arnold via Ray Charles. Morrison is languid and downright cheerful, laughing at the beginning of the second verse after quoting both Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra, in turn.

"Whinin’ Boy Moan" is a jump tune allusion to Jelly Roll Morton with tight vocals by Morrison and sprite horns that include flamethrowing solos by Martin winning and Matt Holland. The two standards, "Saint James Infirmary" and Lightnin’ Hopkins' "Stop Drinking," are revelations, the former New Orleans-dirge-like and the latter with a rockabilly slant. Morrison flips off fame and the recording industry with "Goldfish Bowl" which recalls, in a strange way, Too Long in Exile ’s "Big Time Operations." "Too Many Myths" includes some most tasty acoustic guitar compliments of Morrison himself.



This disc was not received well by local press and I do not understand why. All elements characteristic of a Van Morrison recording are present, with the plus that Morrison sounds like he is enjoying himself. Eclectic is how I would describe this recording and Van Morrison in general.



For more information, see Van Morrison and Blue Note Records .

Track Listing

What

Personnel

Van Morrison

Album information

Title: What | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read The Fantastic Mrs. 10
The Fantastic Mrs. 10
By Mike Jurkovic
Read Remixed
Remixed
By Jim Olin
Read Negoum
Negoum
By Hrayr Attarian
Read Wako
Wako
By Mark Sullivan
Read Tetrahedron
Tetrahedron
By Dan McClenaghan