As an arranger, Nelson Riddle will forever remain best known for his work with Frank Sinatra. But Riddle achieved equally stellar results with Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Keely Smith, Dean Martin and Rosemary Clooney. His ability to shape precisely the right setting for each singer, to intuit the nuances and stylistic idiosyncrasies of each voice, was undeniable.
Dr. Jeremy Fox, esteemed jazz educator and longtime organizer of the SMV Vocal Jazz Camps, numbers among the few arrangers who rival Riddle’s prowess. As part of his doctoral work at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, Fox undertook his dream project: customizing charts for 10 of his favorite singers. The results are collected on With Love, an undertaking that ultimately involved 80 musicians in various combinations large and small.
Mixing big names—Kate McGarry, Kevin Mahogany, New York Voices’ Peter Eldridge and Lauren Kinhan—with lesser-known pros like Kate Reid, Derek Fawcett and Sunny Wilkinson, Fox achieves stunning results. From McGarry’s deeply heartfelt “All My Tomorrows,” Kinhan’s dazzling “Moonray” and Eldridge’s exquisite “I’m Glad There Is You” to Fawcett’s shadowy “Get Out of Town,” Mahogany’s Eckstine-worthy “Three Little Words” and Reid’s masterful midtempo swing through “That Old Feeling,” it is, precisely as planned, a cornucopia of singular delights.