by anybody. But coming from a legendary vocalist like Tony Bennett it is more meaningful. It means that there is no "copycatting," no accusations of imitation, no irritating similarities overshadowing the singer's performances and interpretations.
Chris Murrell is an original. He has obviously listened to the greats, absorbed the counsel of mentor Joe Williams, honed his talents through experience, such as performing with the Count Basie Orchestra for 10 years. Consequently, Tony Bennett has called Chris one of his favorite singers.
Chris is supported by the Joe Aiello trio with Jonathan Pruitt on piano and Andy Lalasis on bass. This musically creative combo can be heard on three compelling instrumentals, along with providing Chris sure support on songs ranging from pop standard, "These Foolish Things," through blues ballad, "Blues the Mother of Sin," and blues up-tempo, "Lonesome Lover Blues," to a swinging version of "I Didn't Know What Time It Was."
Joe Aiello, leader and spearhead of this fine trio, plays the drums as a percussionist on a multiple percussion instrument. His time is right in the "pocket" and his fills and solos are imaginative and musical.
Pianist Jonathan Pruitt is a fluid creator within the aggregation (observe his piano after Chris sings, "a tinkling piano in the next apartment on These Foolish Things.") Jonathan breathes his own creative life into these wonderful arrangements.
Bassist Andy Lalasis is an artist. Whether playing up-tempo or ballad, latin or swing, he provides a musical foundation for the group to build and create. His solo on "The Way You Look Tonight" swings real hard.
All three of these pros can be heard in peak performance on their tasty version of the Beatle's great, "And I Love Her." In short, what you have is a musical group as tight as a fist and as giving as an open hand.
Yet for the talent of each individual in this assemblage, one cannot help thinking that a synergistic experience is going on here. In "Good Morning Heartache" - a lugubrious lament, Chris builds to a last verse nobody would have dreamed possible. And note Chris's a capella intro on the classic jazz standard, "Lush Life," followed by an entrance into the body of the song in which he lets the notes hang ragged, like the linen napkins "in some small dive." Yet, observe, too, the smooth fragile notes he sends up, like smoke rings against a blue mirror.
In reality, rather than being a trio with a featured vocalist, or a singer with instrumental accompaniment, what you have is a fine foursome of accomplished musicians - it's just that Chris Murrell's instrument is his voice. And united with pianist Jonathan Pruitt, bassist Andy Lalasis, and leader-drummer Joe Aiello, they become a quintessential jazz quartet.
1. These Foolish Things
2. Wait A Minute Baby
3. Blues The Mother of Sin
4. The Way You Look Tonight
5. My Cherie Amour
6. And I Love Her
7. I'll Remember April
8. Lush Life
9. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
10. Good Morning Heartache
11. Buster Rides Again
12. Lonesome Lover Blues