Wednesday, October 9, 2013

CD Review: "Compared To What" The Redmond, Langosch and Cooley Trio

Jay Cooley, Mary Ann Redmond and Paul Langosch
Mary Ann Redmond is a highly respected singer in the Washington, DC area who has won 22 Washington-area music awards, called "Wammies". Redmond has spent most of her professional life singing Pop and R & B tunes.  While performing at one of her gigs, it turns out that Paul Langosch and Jay Cooley were in the audience and after hearing Redmond's voice, timing and phasing approached her about joining them to jam a little. This first session together and the ones that followed produced the absolutely fabulous Jazz Blues Album named after the famous Les McCann and Eddie Harris recording of the Gene McDaniels' classic song "Compared To What".

Combining Redmond's glorious voice with the deep experience of Langosch and Cooley in dealing with songs from the "Great American Songbook" resulted in one of the best new CDs of 2012. Paul Langosh has worked with many of the giants of the Jazz world including: Phil Woods, Tal Farlow, Al Cohn, Mose Allison, Johnny Hartman, Bud Shank, Zoot Sims, Karney Kessel and Herb Ellis. In addition, he was a permanent member of Tony Bennett's Trio for 20 years. You can't play bass for Tony Bennett for 20 years without being a master of songs out of the "Great American Songbook"! Jay Cooley's career has included appearances with Charlie Byrd, Phil Woods, Keter Betts, Chuck Redd, Ethel Ennis, Ernestine Anderson and Lennie Cuje. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, Blues Alley, Strathmore Hall, The National Gallery of Arts and countless Jazz festivals.

This Album is about bringing the natural brilliance of Redmond's voice and the experience of Langosch and Cooley to new and old standards from the "Great American Songbook".  The selection of songs for this Album is nothing short of outstanding.  Even though the songs cover more than a 60 year span of music, every song on this Album fits Redmond's voice and style perfectly. I assume that Langosh and Cooley helped Redmond with the selections, but I give Redmond tons of credit for taking her Blues and R & B style and transforming her sound into Jazz standards.

I can't say enough about Mary Ann Redmond's voice and style. She has brought new life into the standards she chose for this album with impeccable timing and phrasing. Just one example is her performance of the Leonard Cohen song "Dance Me To The End of Love". Prior to this Album I had only heard this song sung by its composer Leonard Cohen and thought, why do so many people go crazy about Leonard Cohen? After hearing Redmond bring life to the lyrics of this song, I no longer ask that question. It's a good lesson for song writers to consider getting great singers like Redmond to record their songs instead of self-recording.  Most times this brings out the best of the melody and the lyrics for the listener.

Take a look at the creative list of songs and composers included on this Album. Two of the songs were composed by Redmond, "Love Me Anyway" and "Storm is Coming".

1. "Come Rain or Come Shine", Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer
2. "Dance Me To The End Of Love", Leonard Cohen
3. "Compared To What", Gene McDaniels
4. "Storm Is Coming", Mary Ann Redmond
5. "Never Make Your Move Too Soon", Nesbert "stix" Hooper and Will Jennings
6. "Creepin", Stevie Wonder
7. "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good", Duke Ellington & Paul Francis Webster
8. "Coyote", Joni Mitchell
9. "Ain't That Peculiar", Smokey Robinson, Ronald White, Pete Moore & Mary Tarplin
10. "What'll I Do", Irving Berlin
11. "Fool on the Hill", Lennon & McCartney
12. "Love Me Anyway", Mary Ann Redmond & Todd Wright

Mary Ann Redmond: Voice/Guitar
Paul Langosch: Bass
Jay Cooley: Keys

Special Guests: Dave Mattacks, Drums, Dan Hovey, Guitar, and Bruce Swaim, Tenor Sax  

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