Izzy Chait: For Your Love

What goes around comes around. So it is with Izzy Chait. Back in the late ’60s, young Izzy emerged as a regular on the Los Angeles club scene, serving up Tin Pan Alley standards at a time when such material was largely out of favor. Since even top-drawer renditions of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin classics weren’t going to pay the bills, Chait jettisoned his singing career to pursue an anthropology degree and, over several decades, built a reputation as an expert in Asian art and its history.

In the ’90s he decided to get back into the music game, returning to the L.A. circuit but favoring pop and blues material. Come the new millennium, he returned to his first musical love, releasing his all-standards debut album, Once Upon a Time. Four additional discs have since followed, with R&B and pop tracks gaining increasing presence on his playlists.

For Your Love, recorded at the Jazz Bakery on Valentine’s Day 2009, finds Chait in fine form. His easy sense of swing echoes the late-career Tony Bennett, though his lightly graveled voice is more akin to the mature Johnny Hartman. Porter, Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Rodgers and Hart and Johnny Mercer are all ably represented. But the results are no less impressive when he veers from the Great American Songbook, most notably on a towering recreation of the Ed Townsend title track and, most surprisingly, on a growling “Sea of Love” that seems equally indebted to Tom Waits and Dr. John.