Bob Mundy: Love to Me

| October 11, 2017

Bob Mundy

Love to Me

(Kitoliscious Music)

September 8, 2017

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Jazz vocalist Bob Mundy’s second album shows his wide interest in the American musical, ranging from such classic songwriters as Richard Rodgers (“Loads of Love”) and Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields (“You Wanna Bet”) to such contemporary artists as Chris Caswell. Mundy has a flexible and mostly attractive voice, although a bit too inclined to wailing at the top of his range, and an interesting way of delving deeply into lyrics.

The album is marked by an interest in experimenting with material we have heard before, as well an introduction to numbers not well-known. Working closely with his arranger, Dan Kaufman, the emphasis is on interesting jazz ornamentation that underline the emotion. “The Good Life” is given a lengthy instrumental opening that is essential a lyricless song in its own right, before Mundy offers up his soulful version. (The album includes a second track which gets right to the vocal for those who want to cut to the chase.) “But Beautiful” is also given an unusually slow rendition that brings out the bittersweet Johnny Burke lyrics (music: Jimmy Van Heusen).

Some of the tracks demand more than casual listening. One surprise is the album’s title cut taken from the musical The Light in the Piazza, here transformed into a jazz tone poem of desire and adoration. “Until” (Sting) is a complex love song partnered with a frantic instrumental that threatens to run out of control, but never quite does, accenting the anguish of the singer. In contrast, “The Last Night of the Year” (Michael Whalen & Phil Galdston) is a laid-back and slightly sad and cynical view of a loner on that particular evening. The hypnotic “Carpe Diem” (Steven Cagan) sounds like it should be delivered in a smoky bar in a ‘40s film noir, a plea for passion in the moment.

The CD is marked by superb musicianship by all concerned. Each instrument comes through specifically and with emotional weight, illuminating the intentions of singer Mundy without ever obscuring him.

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Category: Music, Music Reviews, New York City, New York City Music Reviews, Regional

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