Lucky to Be Me
Veteran California vocalist Dewey Erney possesses a fine voice (a little like Mel Tormé’s), sure pitch, a precise sense of timing and excellent taste in his repertoire and delivery. This collection of 15 songs from composers like Duke Ellington, Michel Legrand, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter receives a respectful but heartfelt treatment from the singer, accompanied by conductor-arranger Tom Kubis’ group of all-star Los Angeles players.
Kubis enjoys a stellar reputation as a versatile arranger and his charts for this occasion provide an ideal setting for Erney’s jazz-friendly style. Kubis’ orchestra is a little odd in that he himself plays all the saxophones as well as one of the trumpet parts and some piano. He even improvises on trumpet on one track, although he normally solos on soprano and tenor saxophones. Trumpeter Ron Stout and trombonist Andy Martin are the other featured improvisers. The big-band instrumentation is augmented by a string quartet and Erney’s great-niece Kate Prestia-Schaub on flute.
To have great songs such as these rendered faithfully and lovingly in the context of a swinging big band is a rare delight.