Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Anthony Strong Stepping Out Naive 2013

Anthony Strong gives the Great American Songbook a much needed face lift!

Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com

Old school vocal jazz is tired...Tired, predictable and commercially sanitized for your protection.
Enter Anthony Strong.

Anthony Strong swings with elegance and the panache that breathes new life into timeless classics and indeed makes old school new cool again! Even the retro contemporary jazz scene is getting a bit played out but Anthony Strong is putting the paddles to a genre long since left for dead by many and he is doing it with an infectious contemporary flair.

Tunes from Cole Porter and Irving Berlin are great, toss in imaginative arrangements of Stevie Wonder and a classic from Victor Young and Edward Heyman "When I Fall In Love" and you start to elevate a good release into that special category that comes along once in a blue moon. The amazing aspect of Anthony Strong is that his piano playing adds the perfect counterpoint to his vocals while his skills as a lyricist have the five Strong originals sounding as standards waiting in the lyrical on deck circle. The ebb and flow on Stepping Out is spot on while the band pops with vitality and Anthony Strong moves well past the label of crooner and into his own world as a more than legitimate vocal artist.

Highlights here are more than plentiful with an air of sophistication found on covers such as "Too Darn Hot" and "Stepping Out With My Baby." Strong originals such as "Change My Ways" and "Earlybird" are equally as strong and every bit as engaging.  Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble need to be looking over their shoulder. Anthony Strong is the real deal and a name to remember, this is what entertainment is all about!

Tracks: Too Darn Hot; Change My Ways; Luck Be A Lady; Stepping Out With My Baby; L-O-V-E; Falling In Love; Someone Knows; My Foolish Heart; My Ship; Witchcraft Cy; When I Fall In Love; Overjoyed; Earlybird; Learning To Unlove You.

Personnel: Anthony Strong: Vocals, Piano; Tom Farmer: Bass (1,3,5,6,7,9,12); Sebastian de Krom: Drums (1,3,5,6,7,9,12); Calum Gourlay: Bass (2,4,8,10,11,13); Matt Skelton: Drums (6,7); Chris Allard: Guitars; Sebastian de Krom: Percussion; James Morrison: Trumpet Solo (3); Brandon Allen: Tenor Saxophone Solo (7); Nigel Hitchcock: Tenor Saxophone Solo (1,2,13).