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01/29/10

Jack Wood
Jazz and the Movies

If you could somehow pour the stylings of Frank Sinatra and Jack Jones into a blender, out would flow the crooning of Jack Wood: not as hip as the former; not as dramatic as the latter, but they're both significant since they are important influences on Wood. Like his debut album, Baby, Baby All The Time, this second CD is a class act. Showing his good taste, Jack once again surrounds himself with L.A. studio musicians -- the guys who read and swing with equal finesse: Pete Christlieb, Buddy Childers, John Pisano, Tom Ranier, Jim Hughart, Luther Hughes, Joe LaBarbera, even Bill Miller, who accompanied Sinatra for a couple of centuries. Some of these greats are gone now; the album bears an '09 copyright, but no indication of when it was recorded.

Wood is an excellent singer: good range; precise intonation; a looseness that allows him to syncopate intelligently; and sufficient warmth to melt either polar icecap. His sound is pure velvet, and bless him, you can understand every syllable. In addition, he can change key with the briefest of modulations.

Highlights abound: Wood's interpretation of Neal Hefti's gorgeous line, "Lonely Girl," and along with that, tenorist Christlieb's backing; Pete again, for his solo on "Come Rain Or Come Shine;" flugelhornist Childer's act-stealing gap-filling on "One For My Baby;" the trio backing by pianist Llew Matthews, bassist Hughes, and drummer LaBarbera for "On The Street Where You Live;" the solo comping by pianist John Massamino for "Someone To Watch Over Me;" and the occasional, unintrusive string arrangements added by Llew Matthews and Tom Ranier.

Only complaint: with just 45-minutes worth of music, there could have been a few more splinters of Wood.

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