Bob Dorough – Eulalia – Merry Lane Records
Far from your usual jazz vocalist, Dorough is an acquired but extremely worthwhile taste.
Published on February 25, 2014
Bob Dorough – Eulalia [TrackList follows] – Merry Lane Records (self), 46:42 [1/28/14]*****:
(Bob Dorough – vocals/piano/arrangements; plus an octet incl. Phil Woods – alto sax, Steve Gilmore – double bass, and Aralee Dorough – flute, plus four guest artists)
Bob Dorough has been my favorite male jazz vocalist for a very long time—since he visited me on my houseboat in the late ‘70s. His is not a great voice, and may be an acquired taste, but what he does with it is amazing. He’s a risk-taker in every way, doing scat, vocalese and going into high registers with no fear. His voice is instantly loveable, filled with some of the rural touch of his home state Arkansas, as well as bebop sophistication. He’s also a great jazz pianist and composer and has performed with the late Blossom Dearie as well as Dave Frishberg. (The terrific album he did with Frishberg is Who’s on First? and was on BlueNote but is now unfortunately discontinued.) Dorough has not been a big name in jazz for most of his career, and he’s 90 now but still going very strong. (Just heard him live at the Portland Jazz Festival, with Frishberg.) Many younger listeners know him only from the Schoolhouse Rock PBS-TV programs. He was the only jazz vocalist to do a couple tracks on a Miles Davis album.
Dorough’s new album is full of smile-creating wonders and proudly puts his daughter Aralee on flute on the opening and closing tracks which he composed for her. She’s first flutist in the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and is also heard on the track “Consummation.” There are also a couple of his hits, “Love (Webster’s Dictionary),” and “I’ve Got Just About Everything,” on which sax legend Phil Woods gets a great solo. A Brazilian feeling creeps into his unusual rendition of the five definitions of love direct from the dictionary. “A Few Days of Glory” has some swinging gospel influence, and he wrote his “To Be Or Not To Bop” inspired by Dizzy Gillespie. Dorough, like Frishberg, Mose Allison, Jim Pearce and Randy Newman, has a voice that might take some getting used to, but he takes the area of singer-songwriter into totally new places that are a complete delight. Try him out!