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Georgie Fame: Poet in New York

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It’s difficult to explain why English singer-songwriter-keyboardist-arranger Georgie Fame isn’t regarded as a topflight male jazz vocalist: he’s easily the peer of Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling. This lavishly gifted musician’s two excellent 1999 Go Jazz CDs, Name Droppin’ and Walking Wounded, passed virtually unnoticed. Could it be that the success of his ’60s pop hits “Yeh Yeh” and “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” has caused the jazz community to shun him? If so, perhaps Poet in New York, Fame’s latest and finest jazz-oriented album, will open closed minds and ears.

Backed by a first-rate quartet-pianist David Hazeltine, saxophonist Bob Malach, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Louis Hayes-Fame breezes through an exacting repertoire of jazz compositions. He shakes the dust off “Lush Life,” “Doodlin'” and “Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid,” and outfits a trio of splendid Tadd Dameron pieces-“That’s the Way It Goes,” “Accentuate the Bass” and the exquisite “On a Misty Night”-with his own thoughtful lyrics.

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