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Keeping My Composure

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Album Review

Jazz educator Charley Harrison spent a decade writing music for Chicago advertising and though he moved west to teach at UCLA, he is also the assistant director of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra. His considerable skills as a composer and arranger are on display in his debut recording, conducting the Orchestra with a host of special guests. Vocalist Kurt Elling shines in Harrison's superb scoring of Duke Pearson's rarely performed hard bop vehicle "Jeannine," which also showcases alto saxophonist John Wojciechowski. Singer Frieda Lee is also a veteran jazz educator, though she is a regularly featured singer with the CJO and this is evidently her belated professional debut recording; she adds plenty of spice to "Corcavado (Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars," plus warm interpretations of the Broadway tune "Pure Imagination" and the bittersweet "More Love." Vocalist Sara Gazarek was a relative newcomer at the time of the sessions, as her debut CD was released over a year after Keeping My Composure, but she devours Harrison's swinging "Recipe for Romance" whole, a piece full of amusing double entendres related to cooking. The final vocal guest is Freddy Cole, whose slightly raspy sound adds just the right touch to the bluesy "On the South Side of Chicago." Harrison finally puts down his baton to join fellow guitarist Bobby Broom for the leader's percolating blues "2 by 6." Charley Harrison is easily one of the most promising composers in a big-band setting to emerge in the early 21st century.

Keeping My Composure, Charley Harrison
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 01 March 2006

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