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American Love Songs

Jim Cullum Jazz Band

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Album Review

Ever since it debuted in 1989, the notable radio series Riverwalk, Live from the Landing has given listeners a large dose of well-produced and intelligently presented classic jazz. This particular CD is the seventh to draw its material from these enjoyable programs, and it is a bit of a grab-bag. The theme of American love songs is rather loose, but it serves as an excuse to make the generally relaxed and concise performances available to the public for the first time since their airing. Jim Cullum is one of the finest cornetists/trumpeters in the field, and he can be heard in short statements with his jazz band throughout (taking a brief but dramatic spot on "Come Rain or Come Shine" and exuberantly leading the ensembles on "Ain't Misbehavin'"). The many guests uplift the music, particularly soprano saxophonist Bob Wilber on "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland," Benny Carter during "When Lights Are Low," Joe Williams on an uptempo "Singin' in the Rain," and Dick Hyman playing a piano duet with John Sheridan on a charming version of "My Fate Is in Your Hands." The vocals of Nina Ferro and Carol Woods (three for Ferro and two by Woods), although well sung, are predictable and routine compared to the instrumentalists, but harmless enough. Much hotter are spirited renditions of a pair of Fats Waller tunes ("Ain't Misbehavin'" and the obscure "I Had to Do It") featuring personable vocals by Vernel Bagneris, plus the two pianos with the full band. Overall, this is fun music well worth picking up, as are the other entries in the series.

American Love Songs, Jim Cullum Jazz Band
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