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Gregory Generet: (Re) Generet(ion)

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For most of his artistic life, Gregory Generet has toiled as a post-production editor for various CBS news and sports programs, netting three Emmys for his efforts. An ardent jazz fan with a latent desire to become a vocalist, Generet established a wide circle of musician friends, one of whom-pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs-orchestrated his belated shift from audience to center stage, producing, arranging and playing on this punnily titled debut.

The brief session (just eight tracks spanning 38 minutes), featuring elegant backing by bassist Marcus McLaurine, drummer Payton Crossley and guitarist Jair Coelho, casts Generet as a latter-day Billy Eckstine. It is telling that Generet’s day job requires tremendous precision and discernment, for those same skills define both the album’s strengths and its weakness. Technically, his performances approach flawlessness, and his august baritone rivals Eckstine’s. While favoring straight-ahead treatments of sturdy ballads-“Angel Eyes,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” “How High the Moon”-he ventures outside that comfort zone to navigate the trickier curves of “Stolen Moments” and an oddly feral “Caravan,” and also shapes a befittingly roiled “Rio de Janeiro Blues” and a tremendously fiery “Moondance.” Yet across most tracks, Generet’s proficiency seems perfunctory, lacking emotional sincerity, as if the selections were being adroitly assembled rather than truly, deeply felt.

Originally Published