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Why Try to Change Me Now

Brian Trainor

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Album Review

Sadly, Why Try to Change Me Now? turned out to be the final studio project of Brian Trainor, who recorded this rewarding CD in 2004, 2005, and early 2006 and died of an aneurysm at the relatively young age of 55 on July 8, 2006 (two months before the album's release). And Why Try to Change Me Now? also contains some of the last recorded solos of tenor/soprano saxophonist Steve Marcus; Trainor still hadn't finished recording the disc when Marcus (who is heard on six selections) died in his sleep on September 25, 2005. A departure from Trainor's previous releases, Why Try to Change Me Now? was his first vocal-oriented effort. Trainor had employed singer Kelly Rodrigues on his Portraits album in 1994, but not extensively; Why Try to Change Me Now? marked the first time he featured vocalists on almost all of the tracks — and those vocalists range from Jimmy Scott and Jon Lucien to some lesser-known singers Trainor felt were deserving of wider exposure (Rodrigues, Jacque Major, and the Carmen McRae-influenced Lois Smith). Scott, who turned 80 in 2005, is in very good form on expressive performances of "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," "Every Time We Say Goodbye" (a duet with Rodrigues), and the title track. Lucien, meanwhile, reminds listeners how compatible jazz and gospel can be on the familiar "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," and Rodrigues' memorable appearances on the Randy Newman songs "When She Loved Me" and "One More Hour" point to the fact that pop/rock material can easily work in a jazz-oriented environment if an improviser is creative. It's true that some jazz instrumentalists hate jazz singers with a passion — a regrettable attitude, but not an uncommon one — but Trainor thankfully didn't feel that way. His healthy appreciation of singers serves him well on a thoughtful, nicely assembled CD that ended up being his swan song.

Biography

Born: 29 August 1950

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A melodic pianist/composer who was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Brian Trainor has loved both jazz and classical since childhood. Trainor's interest in music was greatly encouraged by his father, Francis Trainor, Sr., a singer who had a "day gig" as a meat cutter and saw to it that his son was studying classical piano as early as kindergarten. Trainor (whose influences range from Bill Evans to Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell) was still a child when he studied jazz piano with Trenton pianist...
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Why Try to Change Me Now, Brian Trainor
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