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Bebop Spoken There

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13,073 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 492 of them this year alone and, so far, 47 this month (April 9).

Bar Manager Required

The Jazz Co-op are looking for an experienced bar manager who can be available to start when The Globe reopens in May.

Preference will be given to a suitably qualified person who lives relatively near to The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD.

Interested parties please follow this link.

Coming soon ...

April 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at The Holystone.

May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 2: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.
June 7: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

CD Review: Peter Eldridge and Kenny Werner – Somewhere


Peter Eldridge (vocal); Kenny Werner (piano); Matt Aronoff (bass); Yoron Israel (drums) + 20 piece string orchestra conducted by Eugene Friesen.
(Review by James Henry)

"Somewhere" is a gentle, soothing offering from Peter Eldridge, Kenny Werner and a string orchestra, the culmination of an idea shared by  Eldridge and Werner that began about 10 years ago.  It would be terribly easy to combine Eldridge’s crooning baritone voice, Werner’s gentle piano fills and a string orchestra to recreate Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole: thankfully, this CD doesn’t seek to do this. "Somewhere" is a fresh interpretation of song, strings, and soothing, gentle jazz; it is an antidote to the troubled times in which we live.   

Kenny Werner is an accomplished jazz pianist, composer and educator, possibly best known for his seminal book “Effortless Mastery, Liberating the Master Musician Within”, the closest thing I know to a jazz self-improvement book.   Peter Eldridge is a crooner of the old sort, with a wonderful vocal range, and a glorious deep lower register.  Werner and Eldridge are faculty members at Berklee Music College in Boston, and draw on other Berklee musicians for this album, notably the cellist Eugene Friesen who conducts the 20 piece string orchestra, itself recruited from the Berklee World Strings.

The album is for the most part a collection of Werner and Eldridge originals, but with one or two more familiar pieces. You Don’t Know Me is worlds away from the standard made famous by Ray Charles, and brings the best out of Eldridge’s deep baritone.  I’m so Glad You’re Mine is jazzy in a minor way.   That Which Can’t Be Explained has a more theatrical feel and juxtaposes Eldridge’s lyric and a complex string motif. Autumn in Three, a Werner/Eldridge original, swings and swirls seasonally in waltz time, with an evocative string arrangement and a nice rhythm section feature, bringing drummer Yoron Israel and bassist Matt Aronoff to the fore.

The mood slows and mellows with Minds of their Own, setting Eldridge’s words to Ivan Lin’s tune, and a midnight, clubby feel. Less Than Lovers, an Eldridge tune, is lifted by an Aaron Copeland-like string arrangement from Werner.  Difficult takes Eldridge’s music into territory normally occupied by Tom Lehrer, but with a dark, infatuated lyric.

Ballad for Trane features an extended tenor saxophone solo from George Garzone (another Berklee faculty member), and then we return to more familiar ground with a medley of Somewhere (Bernstein/Sondheim) and A Time for Love (Mancini). Untitled Lament (Werner) has an elegiac feel and we finish with a gentle lullaby,  Day is Done (Prayer for Diego), co-written by Eldridge and one of his song writing students Mitchell Proctor. Unexpectedly and splendidly, this sleepy song morphs into rocking bowed cello solo, before gently playing out.

Peter Eldridge and Kenny Werner’s Somewhere is very different, very soothing and very good.  Besides offering a safe place to the listener, there is a pleasing depth, which rewards multiple listenings.    
 James H

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