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Avenue of the Americas

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Album Review

Based on this music, Avenue of the Americas symbolizes where North, Central, and South American music meet. Some of the music on this set is Brazilian jazz while other selections are post-bop American music. Tom Lellis contributed lyrics to pieces by Pat Metheny, guitarist Toninho Horta, the Yellowjackets, and Keith Jarrett in addition to writing "A Change of Fates" by himself. In addition to individual songs, he performs a few medleys, and on the last two pieces, he contributes all of the voices and the instruments. Even with all of the hard work, the lyrics are generally not that terribly memorable and the modern music lacks very many catchy melodies. However Lellis is in top voice and he utilizes his sidemen, particularly guitarist Horta and flutist Jeremy Steig (who duets with Lellis on the medley of "Pure Imagination" and "Waiting for Angela") quite well. This is very much a haunting and atmospheric set, one of Lellis' most intriguing to date.


Born: 08 April 1946 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Jazz

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

New York resident Tom Lellis is part of what has seemed like an endangered species in recent decades--he's a male jazz singer. Lellis, whose influences have included Mark Murphy and Jon Hendricks (among others), isn't as well known as he should be. But the talent is certainly there; in addition to being an insightful interpreter of lyrics, he is a risk-taking, expressive improviser who has often written lyrics for jazz gems that started out as instrumentals (including Keith Jarrett's "Lucky Southern,"...
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Avenue of the Americas, Tom Lellis
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