Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Eric Comstock & Randy Napoleon: bitter/sweet

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

His career now spans two decades, but it is only in the last few years that the depth and breadth of Eric Comstock’s vocal acuity has been fully realized. Where once, on projects like 1997’s Young Man of Manhattan and his subsequent salute to the lyrics of Larry Hart, Comstock seemed overeager to please, he has since settled into a mellower groove, suggesting both aesthetic ease and sage ripeness. It elevates him to the plateau of Fred Astaire and Chet Baker, fellow slight-voiced masters of transcendent expression. Comstock’s maturation was largely evident throughout his previous album, 2005’s No One Knows. Here, supported solely by guitarist Randy Napoleon, his vocal blossoming is complete.

Napoleon’s subtle elegance provides an ideal cushion for Comstock’s genteel balladeering. Rarely does either rise above a whisper, expertly maintaining a less-is-more ambience. Typical of Comstock, the playlist is astutely diverse, extending from the tender yearning of “I Have Dreamed” and “Too Late Now” to the less-familiar ache of Paul Weston and Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s “Goodbye Is a Lonesome Sound” and the Billy Strayhorn/Roger Schore title tune. Only once does the session extend beyond Comstock and Napoleon, with vocalist Barbara Fasano added to “Two for the Road.” Though Fasano’s contribution is undeniably beautiful, it seems extraneously disruptive of Comstock and Napoleon’s refined sublimity.

Originally Published