In these times of lockdown, loneliness and solitude, what better way to reminisce about love than with the WJ3 All-Stars Lovers And Love Songs: The Ones You Forgot? It’s an album of traditional, classic melodies performed by Willie Jones III and others, and you can’t help but feel nostalgic when listening to the album.
There are no major surprises and no avant-garde directions are undertaken, but arguably that’s exactly what you’d expect of music about love. Easy to relate to, and suitably kitsch, it leaves you with a warm, soothing feeling, just as the title suggests it might. A warning, however, not to let this sense of familiarity fool you. Behind the smooth, effortless shapes there is high skill and technical ability.
Inspired to record the album after two successful concerts in Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers, Willie Jones III performs on drums, alongside saxophonist Ralph Moore, trombonist Steve Davis, trumpeter Terell Stafford, pianist Donald Vega and bassist Gerald Vega. These accomplished musicians take listeners on a musical journey from the optimistic, upbeat tempo of From This Morning On – reflecting the racing heartbeats of first encounters – to the legato, melancholic emotion elicited in Cry Me a River.
One thing that all tracks project is a sense of optimism for love, whether that is yet to be found, or a hundred miles away. Lockdowns notwithstanding, something of its attractions can be found from the comfort of your own home in the 50 or so minutes here.
I’ve Never Been In Love Before; First Time Ever I Saw Your Face; I’m An Old Cowhand; Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You; From This Moment On; Here’s That Rainy Day; Cry Me A River; Jitterbug Waltz (50.21)
Willie Jones III (d); Steve Davis (tb); Terell Stafford (t); Ralph Moore (ts); Donald Vega (p); Gerald Cannon (b). USA, 13 August, 2019.
Night Is Alive