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Standards, New & Used...

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Album Review

In the colorful biography accompanying the release of his engaging jazz vocal debut, Keith England mentions Rod Stewart as a onetime formative years influence, if only in passing. But there's no doubt Stewart's successful transformation from rock icon to pop standard-bearer inspired England years later as the latter switched from his rock background to a cool and stylish adult contemporary mode. Between lives, while working as a film executive, England crooned on the soundtrack of the film Moulin Rouge. The singer — whose résumé boasts rock associations as a vocalist with the Allman Brothers, Montrose and work with members of CCR, the Tubes and the Greg Kihn Band — had a secret weapon in creating this colorful album full of originals and a batch of standards, including a brooding "All Blues," the gently romantic "Sophisticated Lady," the lively and swinging "I Concentrate on You," and a thoughtful twist on "Embraceable You." This is famed pianist Mike Melvoin, whose credits traverse the jazz and pop landscape (Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Quincy Jones and Barbra Streisand). Melvoin produced, arranged and played on the project; he also brought in his trio of Tony Dumas (bass) and Ralph Penland (drums) to add a sensual authenticity to the mix. England lacks the soulful finesse of younger, more famous cats like Michael Bublé, but the point was to, like Stewart, apply his raw rock sensibilities to a subtle romantic context — and he achieves that goal admirably. Though England was far from a kid, he's charming and likeable enough to work perfectly as a Melvoin protégé, someone whose developing style makes him a perfect choice to bring out the best in the composer's new material. Among the highlights are the witty "Whatever My Bianca Wants," the tender "At Last Now," the poetic and wistful reflection of "It's Always You" and the sexy, late-night gem "They Sing the Blues in Kansas City." Aside from the emergence of a sparkling new talent on the adult contemporary and jazz vocal scene, this collection marked the launch of an exciting collaboration.

Standards, New & Used..., Keith England
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  • €8.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 01 May 2007

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