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Bob Dorough Trio: But For Now

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Few are the artists of any ilk who can boast a career comparable to that of Bob Dorough-one that not only touches seven decades but remains fresh and vital throughout. He ranks among jazz’s most revered insiders, admired and respected as a songwriter, singer and pianist by the greats-from Bird and Miles to Diana Krall and Jamie Cullum-yet mostly unknown to the wider musical world (despite having charmed an entire generation of schoolchildren with his hip ditties for Schoolhouse Rock!).

His voice, never robust yet utterly distinct, has faded in recent years. By the time he cut these dozen tracks last fall, at age 90, that unique Dorough sound had been reduced to a gravelly, talk-sing growl. And yet, paired with trio-mates Michael Hornstein (alto saxophone) and Tony Marino (bass), the magic is undiminished.

Though best known for recording his own compositions, Dorough has a long, rich history of covering standards. Here, he includes just one of his own tunes, the intoxicating title track, plus a couple-“Better Than Anything” and “Baltimore Oriole”-he helped make famous. The rest are standards, many new to his repertoire, among them the unexpected (a grandfatherly take on “The Girl From Ipanema”) and the inspired (a scat-fueled “Stars Fell on Alabama”). As always, he’s equal parts sly, impish, cheeky and ebullient and remains a nonpareil storyteller.

Originally Published