Yew gotta be kiddin' me, Bertram! Bob Dorough is 90 and still putting out this great music??? I'm 30 years behind him and will be lucky to be half as good tomorrow as I am today. What the heck is he eating that has him this spunky? I want some. No, I want lots. In case you hadn't known it, ivory tickler Dorough has an impressive history: he played between sets for Lenny Bruce, the best comic this bedraggled planet's ever seen; recorded with Blossom Dearie and Miles Davis and thus was one of the few human beings to ever sing on a Miles slab; and, among many other adventures, was a main music figure on the Schoolhouse Rock! TV show, still much talked about to this day.
But there's much more. In between all those landmarks, he's led his own bands and put out LPs and CDs chockfull of cool jazz and bop as one of those Frishberg / Sidran / Allison singers who writes and encants with tongue firmly planted in cheek and cheeky smile just as firmly glued on grinning face. He here recruited such top shelf cats as Phil Woods, Warren Sneed, Steve Gilmore (playing killer playful lines all through the CD), a bunch of talented others, and even his daughter Aralee, first-chair flute with the Houston Symphony. She steps in with a drop-dead beautiful solo on the title cut and later a Prokofievian Consummationbefore sliding into Eulalia Reprise.
The cleverly titled To Be or Not to Bop is a romp with Dennis Dotson trailing the lyrics on trumpet, leading into a cool-plus Woods solo. Whatever Happened to Love Songs borrows satirical poetry from writer Dan Greenburg (whom you may recall from his humorous Playboy articles and 72 books) and comes off a bit like a Randy Newman song. It also carries one of those aforementioned great hoppin' boppin' bass lines from Gilmore, delicious and smile-invoking. All through the CD, Dorough's piano and voice are simultaneously light and direct, but…90, dammit!, and he's doing this? I won't be able able to plunk out chopsticks when I get there…and…and…hmmmm, come to think of it, I can't plunk out chopsticks even now! Maybe I just need to listen even more closely. Pour a beer, pull up a chair, and join me.