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Album Review

Giacomo Gates: YOU


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Giacomo Gates: YOU
It is an interesting linguistic and grammatical fact that the word "I," capitalized and without its lower case pal's head-dot, appears only in the English language. It is also the most frequently seen word residing in popular song titles. With You the high priest of hip, Giacomo Gates, turns the tables on that not-so-lonely letter and salutes I's near-runner up, "You" with a "book" of 18 genuinely swinging "Yous."

As a jazz singer, Gates has historically been in a sumptuous love affair with words. On over a dozen albums he's demonstrated that he's a "vocalese" vizier and scat-singing jongleur. On this album—arguably his best effort to date—he and a very involved rhythm section run through "You" tunes in an experience that brings to mind a time when lyrics had a more poetic aspect and pungency; when a vocalist fronting a rhythm trio was a most common format, and when track lengths were produced within strict time limits.

Gates launches the session with an up-tempo take on "Exactly Like You" with surprise contrafacts and scat. His rhythmic play with melody parlayed with his shrewdly toying with a lyric's presentation is at the forefront on "How Could I Know About You" and "It Had to Be You." His takes on "I Want to Talk About You," "P.S. I Love You" demo the vocalist's dynamic range and ability to wring emotional juice from a ballad's lyric. Thelonious Monk's jazz classic "I Mean You" offers a feisty piano solo by Tim Ray following Gates' pointing the finger. A verbal prologue prefaces a very soulful take on the Lenny Welch 60's hit, "Since I Fell for You."

While there are well-known GAS workhorses here, additional gems emanate from You that haven't been heard in ages, i.e., "Are You Havin' Any Fun?" and Ray Charles' "I've Got News for You," (both with scatted solos) and the Mills Brothers hit, "You Never Miss the Water 'Till the Well Runs Dry." All are performed with superior style, subtle humor, and soul. Those unique selections also point to brilliant production savvy.

The dynamic rhythm section is completely tied into Gates' energies and buys in whole hoagie. They're obviously having a ball. Pianist Tim Ray is outstanding, ghosting Gates and slyly answering and feeding the leader with great taste and flair. Bassist John Lockwood is rock- solidly swinging throughout. Drummer James Lattini is hands-down the perfect trio presence. When Gates, as he frequently does, toys with the time or throws in melody-altered triplets, the entire section embraces and joins the parade.

Rest assured this effort is no novelty. There's everything here that ultimately results in a most enjoyable experience. Simply put: You is an ideal way to cure your cabin fever, COVID Blues, or whatever ails you.

Track Listing

Exactly Like You; I Can’t Give You Anything But Love; With Plenty of Money and You; I Didn’t Know About You; The Nearness of You; It Had to Be You; I Thought About You; I Want to Talk About You; I Mean You; P.S. I Love You; Are You Havin’ Any Fun?; I Remember You; You’re Blasé; Everything But You; You’ve Changed; Since I Fell for You; I’ve Got News for You; You Never Miss the Water ‘Till the Well Runs Dry.


Giacomo Gates: voice / vocals; Tim Ray: piano; John Lockwood: bass; James Lattini: drums.

Album information

Title: YOU | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Savant Records

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