Ed Reed may well be a shy guy but as a vocalist he commands attention the second they roll tape!
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
Music has been called the universal language. When music and especially lyrics take a visceral stranglehold on your soul then beer muscles are nothing compared to the power of the human voice. With I'm A Shy Guy, Ed Reed takes on the work of Nat King Cole and the King Cole Trio and simply knocks the cover off the ball!
Reed has had a lifetime love affair with music and is living proof that no matter what personal setbacks you may face, dreams die hard. At 84 this is the fourth release for Reed and to tackle such an iconic catalog of material is no easy task but to listen to Ed Reed you would probably never know that. There are rare recording that happen when an artist steps before the microphone and all the stars are in perfect alignment, the arrangements are spot on and the band is tight. Welcome to I'm A Shy Guy which is one of those rare recording that is made up of numerous "first takes" with the end result a fluidity of sound and swing that is indeed rare in this overly produced commercially oriented business known as the recording industry. The selections here are 13 songs from the King Cole Trio plus the post trio standard "Unforgettable" from 1951.
Ed Reed's voice is distinctive with a slightly smokey elegance that embraces a note, a phrase, and the very lyrical essence of story telling that turns an average singer into a vocal artist. Highlights are some of the usual suspects such as "It's Only A Paper Moon" and "Straighten Up And Fly Right." As wonderful as Reed is we find a band that plays with Ed and not around him creating that classic working band feel for a smooth and effortless transition as they stroll down memory lane. Randy Porter on piano, Anton Schwartz on tenor saxophone, Jamie Fox on guitar, John Wiitala on bass and Akira Tana on drums are all spot on and the synergy here is infectious.
Nat King Cole and the King Cole Trio serve as the musical ground zero for Ed Reed and it shows. This is a magnificent old school turned new cool recording that is a true celebration on a multitude of levels. Ed Reed may hold down the chronological age of 84 but there is still plenty of gas left in the tank!
Personnel: Ed Reed: Vocals; Randy Porter: Piano; Anton Schwartz: Tenor Saxophone; Jamie Fox: Guitar; John Wiitala: Bass; Akira Tana: Drums.