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Bob Mover: My Heart Tells Me

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The two discs of My Heart Tells Me are designed to showcase the two sides of Bob Mover, an under-the-radar artist who resurfaced as a leader several years ago after an extended period during which he settled in Canada, playing locally and teaching. The first half features Mover’s vocals on a set of standards by the usual suspects: Porter, Legrand, Warren-Gordon, etc. The second spotlights Mover’s alto, tenor and soprano saxophone work on a set of mostly instrumentals, self-penned save for one each by Mal Waldron and Kenny Dorham.

In the press bio accompanying the CDs, Mover says he considers himself “a musician who sings, as opposed to a singer.” He’s got a point there-the instrumental tracks trump the vocal ones-but he’s no slouch as a vocalist either. Chalk that up to the considerable time Mover spent with the late Chet Baker: Mover’s approach to a vocal is undeniably Baker-esque, easygoing and romantic, albeit huskier and less world-weary.

Engaging though his vocalizing is, however, it’s Mover’s saxophone that dominates even the vocal-focused sides. His tone has been likened both to Stan Getz and Ira Sullivan (Mover studied with the latter while still in his teens), but to be fair Mover’s range goes well beyond his influences. He truly shows what he’s got on disc two. Tracks such as “Muggawump” and especially “Sweet Basil” find Mover blowing hot and even flirting with dissonance. But mostly he’s in his element while sticking to bop basics, trading expertly framed licks with pianist Kenny Barron, trumpeter Josh Evans and tenor player Steve Hall. Bob Mover may never go down as one of the great innovators, but there’s enough evidence on My Heart Tells Me to make a good case for wider, if belated, recognition.

Originally Published