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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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KEN GREVES

Night People

Jazz Cat Productions

 

 

  1. Night People

  2. Small Day Tomorrow

  3. I Wished On The Moon

  4. What A Little Moonlight Can Do

  5. Street Of Dreams

  6. Midnight Sun

  7. Moon And Sand

  8. The Night We Called It A Day

  9. Let Me Down Easy

  10. Angel Eyes

  11. Lush Life

  12. I Keep Goin' Back To Joe's

  13. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)

  14. Early Morning Blues / Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'


Ken Greves - Vocals

Frank Ponzio - Piano

Ppeter Donovan - Bass

Vito Lesczak - Drums


Ken Greves describes this as a concept album in the Sinatra tradition. The theme, of course, is the night hours. The songs are, for the most part, standards though there are one or two surprises in the selection made. I'd classify Greves as a saloon or cabaret singer. His voice can sound a little off-kilter at times and sometimes the lyrics are more spoken than sung. The title track is a good illustration of what I mean. Angel Eyes, however, has a register that suits him and on Small Day Tomorrow he delivers the late Fran Landesman's witty lyrics well. Greves also scores on a wry little number, previously unfamiliar to me, I Keep Goin' Back To Joe's. Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life is sung straight but is none the worse for that.

Problems can arise when a particular song has strong associations with one of the great artistes of the past. Ken Greves manages to give a lively alternative rendition of What A Little Moonlight Can Do, a melody linked with Billie Holiday, but succeeds less well with, say, One For My Baby which lacks the ruefulness of Sinatra's version and where I sense an element of strain at work. There are some great tunes and lyrics on this disc such as Midnight Sun and The Night We Called It A Day. A strength of Greves is that he articulates lyrics clearly so that their quality is never in doubt. The arrangements, by pianist Frank Ponzio and Greves are stylish, witness I Wished On The Moon with its attractive Latin setting.

Much of the jazz element on the album is due to an excellent rhythm section. Time after time, I found myself appreciating Ponzio's varied and expressive playing on piano while bassist Peter Donovan and Vito Lesczak on drums give praiseworthy support. For a sample of all three on song, try Let Me Down Easy. All in all, then, a number of positives about this album but some reservations, too.

James Poore



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