Love Songs, Ballads and Standards
Irvin Mayfield, Ellis Marsalis, Neal Caine, Jaz Sawyer & Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
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New Orleans native Irvin Mayfield was devastated to learn that Hurricane Katrina had taken the life of his father in 2005. The sessions and live performances heard on this CD were also lost to the storm, but fortunately, the trumpeter had mixes preserved on his iPod, so the music was saved. Veteran jazz educator/pianist Ellis Marsalis is Mayfield's accomplished partner for this far-reaching mix of standards, jazz compositions, and modern pop, adding a rhythm section and, on some tracks, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Mayfield's sound is heartfelt throughout, while Marsalis' reserved style of playing is the perfect complement. The lush setting of "My One and Only Love" and the moody "'Round Midnight" are obvious highlights. Separate versions of the Beatles' "Yesterday," one of their best ballads, open and close the CD. But some of the pop material does not hold up as well. In spite of Mayfield's best efforts, Leon Russell's "Superstar" and Norah Jones' huge hit "Don't Know Why" quickly wear out their welcome with their repetitious themes. Surprisingly, Burt Bacharach's "A House Is Not a Home," recorded by more than a few jazz musicians, is hampered by a dull rhythm backing. But a few rough spots don't prevent Irvin Mayfield from delivering a romantic CD of his favorite ballads.
Born: New Orleans, LA
Years Active: '90s, '00s