Diane Marino: I Hear Music

Singer Marino and a band including Joel Frahm and Wycliffe Gordon bring new life and some contemporary twists to a standard repertoire

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This is an old-fashioned session, in the best sense of the word. Ms Marino has chosen a set of standards and old- time jazz favourites and given them a contemporary twist. The opening I Hear Music sets off her attractive, sultry voice with an uptempo romp that is faithfully whisked along by the rhythm section and Frahm’s soprano sax.

All of the music here is associated with the swing era and features compositions from Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter, Earl Bostic and others. Let Me Off Uptown recalls Anita O’ Day and Gene Krupa with a ripe vocal and a swinging background. Chris Brown’s drum solo is certainly in the Rich/Krupa tradition. Moonray, associated with Artie Shaw, gets a modern vocal with a swing-era type backing. Ain’t No Use is the first track to feature one of the guest soloists, Chuck Redd, who supplies a well-structured vibes solo. 

Marino’s smoky, slightly nasal voice is ideal for ballads and she produces good readings of I’ll Close My Eyes and When Lights Are Low. Wycliffe Gordon’s sturdy trombone solo on You Showed Me The Way moves the music forward into the late 20th century, for a short while.

Pat Bergeson has some tasty solos and the entire session has a feel-good flavour. This is a present-day interpretation of some old music that gives it new life, and that, I suspect, was just what Diane and her crew of musicians intended. A crisp, clean recording is a bonus.

Discography
I Hear Music; Moonray; Ain’t No Use; Let Me Off Uptown; You Showed Me The Way; Rock Me To Sleep; It Could Happen To You; Detour Ahead; The Late, Late Show; I’ll Close My Eyes; When Lights Are Low; You’d Better Love Me (49.55)
Marino (v, p, arr); Frank Marino (b); Chris Brown (d); Pat Bergeson (elg); Joel Frahm (ts, ss); Chuck Redd (vib); Brad Cole (kyb); Wycliffe Gordon, Desmond Ng (tb); Leif Shires (t); Cole Burgess (as, ts, ss).
M&M MCD 1900