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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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The Mood I'm In




The Mood I’m In

Me and the Blues

Free and Easy

It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dream

Certain People

I want to Talk About You

Come on Strong

All Too Soon

It Started All Over Again / Second Time Around

This is Always

My Kind of Trouble is You

Too Late Now.

Marlene VerPlanck (vocal): Mark Nightingale (trombone): Andy Panayi (saxophones, flute): John Pearce (piano): Paul Morgan (bass): Bobby Worth (drums)

Recorded March 2015, UK [49:50]

It’s no secret that Marlene VerPlanck is now in her early 80s but she upholds the verities of the Great American Songbook largely untouched by the vicissitudes of Time. Her voice remains unworn and if the top of her range is more effortful than it once was, that’s hardly surprising. Her interpretations exude the freshness of discovery and the allure of rediscovery. With her she has her regular band for her annual visits to Britain – the trio of John Pearce, Paul Morgan and Bobby Worth augmented by Andy Panayi’s flute and saxophone and the stellar trombone of Mark Nightingale.

This is her 24th album and for it she sings 12 tracks – a mix of standards, the more obscure, and the contemporary. The title track has an easy, well-practised swing – springy rhythms – and its lyrics are witty and warm. Mark Nightingale stretches out on the appropriately blues-drenched Ted Koehler and Harry Warren song Me and the Blues whilst Panayi’s flute lends colour to Free and Easy. His flute playing can sound rather classically-orientated in places, not least tonally. There’s a brief moment of vocalise from VerPlanck on Come on Strong, whose witty lyrics were penned by Sammy Cahn, before Panayi steams in with a bustling tenor solo. All the while the trio provides immaculate support.

The song selection provides variety – there’s a solitary two-song medley – and offers opportunities for each player to shine, whether it’s Worth or Morgan, both solid citizens in this company, or the inventive, supportive and sensitive Pearce. At the heart of it all though is VerPlanck, a deft interpreter and unassumingly effortless.

Jonathan Woolf

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