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Small Day Tomorrow

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Album Review

At a sprightly 82-years-of-age, Bob Dorough was compelled by U.K. bassist Geoff Gascoyne to come to England, do a few dates, and record Small Day Tomorrow — his first recorded work since the release of Sunday at Iridium in 2004. And if you think for one moment that things might be slowing down for the "My Hero Zero" guy, think again. If anything, he's got more juice and gusto than anyone his age should be allowed to flaunt. Teaming once again with longtime lyrical collaborator Fran Landesman, Dorough offers up a full plate of quirky, fun, and enthusiastic readings that reveal the permanent kid lodged inside of him. Whether "Comin' Home Baby" or "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" is your bag, you'll have a hard time not being taken in by Dorough's effortless musicianship, dramatic delivery, and kind-hearted wit; all of which are found, in abundance, on Small Day Tomorrow. Amiable personality aside, the playing on this date is stellar (both from Dorough and his crack team of sidemen) with Gascoyne, in particular, offering up some articulate arrangement talent. Intimate and candid would be the best way to describe both the performance and the songwriting, and Fran Landesman's matter-of-fact revelations on life, love, and leisure blossom through Dorough's emphatic delivery. Case in point, the title track, which plops the listener into the mind of a person who's most significant struggle, at the moment, is how to spend a free evening — "I don't have to go to bed/I've got a small day tomorrow." It's light-hearted for sure, but speaks to the immediate importance of those mundane (but oh-so-personally-important) decisions we all make every hour of the day, and succeeds in making a good case for their poignancy, without any sappy pretense whatsoever. It's genuine, and that is Bob Dorough's strongest suit, and the album's greatest strength as well. For those who only know Dorough as the cartoon guy, here's a fine reason to explore the real deal, with no danger of the man losing any of that boyish charm they've come to love. For the "older and wiser" set, here's Dorough simply doing what he does best: crooning, hamming it up, and impressing every step of the way. ~ J. Scott McClintock, Rovi


Born: 12 December 1923 in Cherry Hill, AR

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Although neglected and underexposed most of his life, Bob Dorough is an adventurous, risk-taking master of vocalese (the process of writing and singing lyrics to instrumental jazz solos) and scat singing who has directly or indirectly influenced Mark Murphy, Michael Franks, Mose Allison, and Kurt Elling. The Arkansas native started out on piano in the 1940s, then took up singing in the early '50s (when he played for boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, an entertainer at the time). From 1954-1955, Dorough lived...
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Small Day Tomorrow, Bob Dorough
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