[From Martin Charnin's original notes to the cd:"Moodswing"]
"George Evans is on a mission. He's out to make us feel, or worse, think that we're twenty again. Along with Andre, George M, Dave, Greg, Steve, Art, And Kevin, Moodswing touches us in places that have been long unattended to, musically.
This cd aims for the heart, the groin, the soul, and the memory bank without a single apology. He sings (occasionally relying on his dark vibrato which surfaces unexpectedly on the right low note at exactly the right part of the syllable being sung) songs mostly forgotten by the boomers, or relatively unknown to the x-generation, with a gorgeous respect for the lyric, as well as for the lyricist.
(In the 60's I personally wrote 4 dozen songs with Harold Arlen and almost every session began with Harold noodling his favorite song on the piano - Fun To Be Fooled. I'm sorry he didn't live to hear this cd.)
Years ago, in a world inhabited by 3 cent stamps, 2 dollar double features, Coke that didn't say "classic" on the can, and infrequent camera-cuts (among other things), when Nostalgia was just a word in the Roget, as opposed to a way of life, George's roots were planted. The tree is this album.
So light a candle - not a joint - pour a couple of glasses of old Beaujolais, put on a pair of pyjamas that don't have a logo on the butt, shut call-coming, call-waiting, call-hounding, and invite a deserving non-talkative friend over to shut up, and then without wearing headphones, listen to this 50 minute treat
Then in the words of Ira Gershwin (who?) - Do It Again." Martin Charnin 1997
1) Although not regarded as a "jazz singer", Doris Day's Columbia albums offer definitive readings of some this century's better songs, often with a strong jazz appeal. Her recording of RIDIN' HIGH (Cole Porter) is one of the only to include the verse -- heard here with the masterful drums of Dave Laing at the top of the number.
2) FUN TO BE FOOLED (Gershwin - Harburg - Arlen) is more often associated with NY cabaret legends Bobby Short and Julie Wilson than with jazz repertoire. Thanks to the delicious bass of George Mitchell, our take on this charming standard swings in a way that I can only hope the composer would approve of.
3) SO NEAR AND YET SO FAR (Cole Porter) Previously unreleased track from the original 1996 session.
4) Introduced by Bing Crosby in the 1936 motion picture "Rhythm On The Range," and often sung by Carmen McRae while accompanying herself at the piano, I CAN'T ESCAPE FROM YOU (Leo Robin and Richard Whiting) remains a lovely, plaintive ballad, ripe for rediscovery.
5) With a chart inspired by the Marty Paich treatment for Ella Fitzgerald, JUST YOU, JUST ME (Klages - Greer) visits some additional places before we've finished with it, including the rarely done but crucial verse to the song. Beware: There be scat!
6) With notable renditions by Ella, Anita O'Day, and Peggy Lee, WHISPER NOT (Golson - Feather) has had a long and imposing history in the vocal repertoire. This recording boasts the dead-on trumpet of Kevin Dean, whose own work with Benny Golson a couple of years back left a lasting impression on Montreal jazz audiences -- I believe you'll see why.
7) Two songs together as one, both of which I associate with the vocalists of the "cool school". Each helps the other to tell the story better than either one of them alone. WHEN SUNNY GETS BLUE (Fischer - Segal) introduces the problem, and then LISTEN LITTLE GIRL (Landesman - Wolf) wallows in it. Steve Kaldestad's sax soothes as it tries to pick up the pieces of a broken heart.
8) Bob Dorough's DEVIL MAY CARE, which dates from the middle 50's, is as hip and manic a statement as was ever penned for a vocalist. Kevin Dean's trumpet break and obligato are a necessary tribute to Miles Davis' well-known interpretation, as well as to Dorough's own original Bethlehem recording of the song.
9) The first of two seasonal tunes, INDIAN SUMMER was composed by Victor Herbert, a master of the American operetta, but was long ago taken out of that idiom by jazz instrumentalists and the big bands. Here the piece is transformed by another neglected treasure: the vibes of Montrealer Art Roberts.
10) A 1941 instrumental ballad by film composer Josef Myrow, AUTUMN NOCTURNE had a bittersweet lyric added to it several years later by Kim Gannon. Despite definitive recordings by Claude Thornhill and later by George Shearing (both with no vocal) the music and lyric now seem to me to be inseparable.
11) Although I SEE YOUR FACE BEFORE ME (Dietz - Schwartz) is usually rendered as a ballad, the 1950's pop trend toward "swinging ballads" as arranged by Nelson Riddle, among others, inspired us to open brightly with this one. The beautiful double length verse as played by Greg Amirault on guitar and Andre White at the piano is savored in a rubato before the tempo kicks in.
12) The bossa nova boom of the 1960's brought acclaim to many outstanding Brazilian songwriters, but the popular English translations of the original Portuguese lyrics often left a lot to be desired. Jobim's SOMEONE TO LIGHT UP MY LIFE was fortunate to have a literate and heart-felt English lyric written for it by Gene Lees, that tells an altogether different, but moving story of its own.