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October 2006

Marilyn Harris with the L.A. Jazz All-Stars Big Band
Round Trip
Wrightwood

Marilyn Harris impresses not only with her vocalese but also with her vocal ease. She boasts a fluid straightahead voice and eloquently lives up to the billing of die-hard, genuine jazz singer. She can do it all, and in these dozen tracks everything is on display except her keyboard chops. She sings in 5/4 on the title tune and goes a step further, with 7/8, on Hank Levy’s “Way Out Here in the Country.” She offers sardonic lyrics on 10 tracks (four of them writing collaborations with hubby Mark Winkler) and a duet with Bob Dorough on “Cool.” She gives eloquent proof that she’s more than a swinger with three outstanding ballads: Marian McPartland’s beautiful melody “Twilight World” as well as “If He Walked Into My Life” and the poignant original “That Afternoon in Harlem.”

Harris certainly deserves the big band of studio swingers as well as Mark Wolfram’s arrangements. Solo highlights belong to tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb and trombonist Andy Martin. As for Harris’ high point, check out “They’re Gonna Love Me.” It shows off her range as well as her ingenious lyrics.

Originally published in October 2006
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