Sunday at Iridium
Like millions of other baby boomers, Bob Dorough was the first bona fide jazz singer I wholeheartedly embraced (the Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Peggy Lee tracks that poured forth from my parents' hi-fi during the cocktail hour notwithstanding). His debut album, 1956's Devil May Care, holds a place of honor in my CD library alongside his stunning all-standards collection Songs of Love (recently reissued in Japan on the Rock Chipper label). Now, they're joined by this rollicking olio of tunes and tales, captured live during one of Dorough's delightful brunch sessions at midtown Manhattan's Iridium.
Backed by guitarist Steve Berger, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Ed Ornowski, with some welcome assistance from pianist Daryl Sherman, trumpeter Joe Wilder and backup vocalists Laura Amico and Roslyn Hart (billed as the Bobettes, Dorough's answer to Ray Charles' Raelettes), he spins an hour of effervescence that extends from the noirish sauciness of his "You're the Dangerous Type" and sinister urgency of "Comin' Home Baby" (a minor, mid-'60s hit for Mel Torme, handled here with a droll slyness that makes it much more appealing) to the cunning romanticism of Bobby Troup's "You're Looking at Me" and Caribbean sway of the fun-filled "Down St. Thomas Way."
There are also a couple of nods to Schoolhouse Rock, the educational cartoons that introduced Dorough to millions, with his first composition for the series, "Three Is a Magic Number," and a Bobette-charged rendition of "Electricity, Electricity," plus a terrific cover of "How Could a Man Take Such a Fall," Curtis Stigers' tongue-in-cheek homage to stardom's transience. It all leads to a heartfelt "We'll Be Together Again" that leaves one hoping a sequel recording will soon make it so.