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Professional Dreamer

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Album Review

Kenny Rankin sings like Chet Baker would have if Baker had had a voice. His tone is high (Rankin's speaking voice is actually fairly low) and he has a subtle, cool style. It is a bit of a surprise, but Rankin (whose previous output has been in pop music) is actually a fine jazz singer. He always sticks to the lyrics when performing veteran standards (there is no scatting), but changes many of the notes, even during the melody statements, and he is definitely improvising. Rankin's concept is kind of strange ("At Last" and "The Very Thought of You" are radically changed) but successful and he has a strong and likable voice. An all-star acoustic trio (consisting of pianist Mike Wofford, bassist Brian Bromberg, and drummer Roy McCurdy) backs the singer on most of the tracks, Tom Scott (on tenor and alto) and trombonist Bill Watrous add melodic bop solos to three songs apiece, "It Had to Be You" is taken as a romping duet with pianist Alan Broadbent, and the remarkable singer Sue Raney interacts with Rankin on "I've Got a Crush on You." This surprising CD is highly recommended.


Born: 10 February 1940 in New York, NY

Genre: Pop

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

A pop and standards singer during his long career, Kenny Rankin debuted in 1967 with his first album, Mind Dusters, which featured the soft rock hit "Peaceful." Over the course of the early '70s, Rankin slowly built up a following with a steady stream of records and performances that balanced originals, new songs, and standards. As the decade drew to a close, he began to return to his singer/songwriter roots, particularly on After the Roses, his 1980 debut for Atlantic Records. He continued to perform...
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Professional Dreamer, Kenny Rankin
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