Monday, August 26, 2013

Al Jarreau - Tenderness

Rather than do a strictly studio or strictly live album next, Jarreau recorded a "live in the studio" affair before an invited audience -- and this time he would not be bothered with the latest new mediocre R&B tunes. Spreading his net from the Gershwins through Lennon-McCartney to Jorge Ben, Elton John and himself, Jarreau assembled a core band that includes vets like Joe Sample, Steve Gadd, the late Eric Gale, and producer Marcus Miller and turned himself loose on the songs with a freedom that hasn't been heard extensively on his records since the '70s. As then, he transplants standards of whatever school into his own cross-genre idiom, squeezing his tone through the syllables and flashing his speed scatting. He produces some lovingly drawn-out reprises of "She's Leaving Home" and "We Got By," a semi-funk "Summertime" with echoes of Gil Evans in the horns, and fits into the rapid-fire "Mas Que Nada" in the Brazilian manner-born. Opera diva Kathleen Battle's breathless coloratura soprano makes for an odd, unsettling contrast with Jarreau's snake-like wanderings in "My Favorite Things" (the only track recorded at a separate session in New York; the others were cut in L.A.); Michael Brecker's tenor sax adds a third alien voice to the mix. Those who were first drawn to Jarreau from his live and recorded performances of the mid-'70s are going to like this CD -- and this time, the new material ("Wait for the Magic," "Dinosaur") is not only interesting and thought-provoking, it makes good use of Jarreau's voice. As with Live In London, a home video of the sessions is available, but contains only ten tracks.- by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Al Jarreau
Album: Tenderness
Year: 1994
Label: Warner
Runtime: 73:07

Tracks:
1.  Mas Que Nada (Jorge Ben) 5:14
2.  Try A Little Tenderness (Jimmy Campbell/Reginald Connelly/Harry Woods) 7:36
3.  Your Song (Elton John/Bernie Taupin) 6:05
4.  My Favorite Things (Oscar Hammerstein/Richard Rodgers) 5:20
5.  She's Leaving Home (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) 7:39
6.  Summertime (George Gerswin/Ira Gershwin/DuBose Heyward) 6:17
7.  We Got By (Al Jarreau)  6:03
8.  Save Your Love For Me (Buddy Johnson) 5:54
9.  You Don't See Me (Al Jarreau)  6:03
10.  Wait For The Magic (Todd Urbanos) 5:51
11.  Dinosaur (Al Jarreau/Marcus Miller/Robby Scharf) 5:23
12.  Go Away Little Girl (Boy) (Gerry Goffin/Carole King) 5:42

Personnel:
Al Jarreau (Vocals)
Marcus Miller (Bass Guitar, Keyboards)
Steve Gadd (Drums)
Joe Sample (Piano, Fender Rhodes)
Neil Larsen (Hammond Organ)
Eric Gale (Guitar)
Philippe Saisse (Synthesizer)
Paulinho da Costa (Percussion)
Michael Stewart (Trumpet)
David Sanborn (Alto Saxophone) - 6,7
Kenny Garrett (Alto Saxophone) - 8
Paul Jackson Jr. (Guitar) - 1
Michael Brecker (Tenor Saxophone) - 4
Jason Miles (Synthesizer) - 4,11
Bashiri Johnson (Percussion) - 4
Don Alias (Percussion) - 11
Kathleen Battle (Vocals) - 4
Stacy Campbell (Backing Vocal)
Jeffery Ramsey (Backing Vocal)
Sharon Young (Backing Vocal)

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