Bob Dorough: Eulalia (2014)
Hipness springs eternal from the mind, mouth and hands of Bob Dorough. The cool-as-can be Schoolhouse Rock! songsmith who's worked with everybody from trumpeter Miles Davis to precocious singer-songwriter Nellie McKay may have turned ninety in December of 2013, but age hasn't slowed him down too much; his wit is still razor-sharp and he still has a way of charming and disarming with his work.
This collection of music, recorded a couple years before the aforementioned milestone birthday, is full of smile-inducing gems. Dorough delivers a Brazilian-tinged, definition-driven delicacy ("Love (Webster's Dictionary")), a bop paean ("To Be Or Not To Bop") a bluesy ballad ("But For Now"), an upbeat-and-snazzy showcase for soloists ("I've Got Just About Everything") and a whole lot more. He mixes NOLA brass band swagger and straight up swing into the stirring gospel framework of "A Few Days Of Glory," and puts his daughter, Houston Symphony flautist Aralee Dorough, in the spotlight on the title track(s)—an original and reprise which bookend the album—and the brief-and-impressionistic "Consummation."
The songwriter and his songs are the stars here, but Eulalia isn't a one man show. Saxophone legendPhil Woods gets his two cents in on "I've Got Just About Everything," trombonist Thomas Hulten has his moments on "But For Now," and guest vocalists Tammie Bradley and Gary Mitchell, Jr. bring the churchy cheer into "A Few Days Of Glory." Several other band members get their time in the sun at various points throughout the album, but it's hard not to keep coming back to the man of the hour.
Dorough, like fellow traveler Dave Frishberg and less-jazzy counterpart Randy Newman, has a voice that's really an acquired taste, but it's a taste worth acquiring. This man has elevated the art of the singer-songwriter in so many ways and it's wonderful to hear him still going strong after all these years.
Track Listing: Eulalia; Love (Webster's Dictionary); Whatever Happened To Love Songs; But For Now; To Be Or Not To Bop; I've Got Just About Everything; A Few Days Of Glory; Consummation; Eulalia Reprise.
Personnel: Bob Dorough: piano, vocals, arrangements; Steve Gilmore: acoustic bass; Herman Matthews: drums; Phil Woods: alto saxophone; Aralee Dorough: flute; Dennis Dotson: trumpet; Thomas Hulten: trombone, tuba; Warren Sneed: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Keith Vivens: electric bass (3, 7); Ray Wilson: guitar; Mike Mizma: vibraphone, pandeiro (2); Gary Mitchell, Jr.: choirmaster, vocals, Hammond B3 (7); Tammie Bradley: vocals (7).
Record Label: Self Produced