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Mitchel Forman: Sing Along With Mitch

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Across a multi-decade career that has included work with Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Phil Woods and Freddie Hubbard, pianist Mitchel Forman has also aligned himself with such top-tier vocalists as Mel Tormé, Astrud Gilberto, Janis Siegel and Diane Schuur. But for this duets project, Forman focuses primarily on lesser-known and emerging jazz singers. Among them, only Tierney Sutton, contributing an ethereal “Turning Into Blue” and a magnificent, roiling “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?,” is a marquee name.

The remaining six are an eclectic bunch, extending from twentysomething Lizzy Loeb (daughter of singer Carmen Cuesta and guitarist Chuck Loeb, a frequent Forman collaborator) to Robbie Wyckoff, currently teamed with Roger Waters for multiple overseas tours, and Gia Ciambotti, a member of the post-Go-Go’s girl group the Graces. The tracks are equally wide-ranging, both in terms of source material-Cat Stevens and the Carpenters alongside Billie Holiday and Truman Capote-and quality.

Sutton aside, best are Wyckoff’s soulful “People Get Ready,” Ciambotti’s vivid take on Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and a choir-boy beautiful rendition of “God Bless the Child” by Arnold McCuller (best known for his supporting roles on James Taylor and Phil Collins hits). Weakest are a vociferous “A Sleepin’ Bee” and an overly derivative “I Won’t Last a Day Without You,” both from Joy Burnworth, whose history suggests greater comfort with rock-oriented settings.

Originally Published