Jazz Sensibilities

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Who is this man???

Roger Cairns - Let's...
Year: 2009
Review By: Jeff Becker
Purchase Link: CD Baby
Personnel: Roger Cairns (vocals), Larry Koonse, (guitar; 1, 7, 8 & 13), Darek Oles ( bass; 1, 7, 8, 10 & 13), Roy McCurdy (drums; 1, 7, 8, 10 & 13), Matt Otto (tenor sax; 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11 & 12), Gary Fukushima (piano; 2-6, 9-16), Ryan McGillicuddy (bass; 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 & 12), Jason Harnell (drums; 4, 6, 9, 11 & 12), Michael Shapiro (percussion; 2, 6, 9 & 12), Nolan Shaheed (trumpet; 3), Javier Vergara (tenor sax; 3, 5, 14-16), Damon Zick (tenor sax, bass clarinet, flute; 3, 15 & 16), Ryan Seward (guitar; 5, 14-16), J.P. Maramba (bass; 3, 5, 14-16), Ryan Doyle (drums; 3, 5, 14-16), Bobby Wilmore (percussion; 3, 5, 14-16).

Who is this man; a blues singer, a jazz singer, John Laine?... If there is one common theme everyone can agree on it is that Roger Cairns can tackle all of these genres with focused ease. He can move seamlessly between styles and genres, between blues, jazz, ballads and swing, between musical eras, like the show tunes of the 30s and 40s, through the lush ballads of the 50s and early 60s, to the revived rhythm & blues of the 60s and the fusion of the 70s.

His sophomore effort Let’s...began as a compilation of some of the most popular tunes from his concerts and developed from there. His objective was for this collection of songs to have a wider appeal than, perhaps those on his freshman CD A Scot In L.A., which tended to be more focused. He did not title the CD Let’s Fall in Love because it’s not exclusively a love album; hence the abbreviation to Let’s...

“Let’s Fall In Love” has a great new arrangement from pianist Gary Fukushima; from the unison intro lines of guitar and piano punctuated with hits, one gets the idea that this is going to be a good listen. The unison lines are again heard at the end of each section that Cairns sings the melody, giving the arrangement a nice flow and cohesive balance. An interlude is added at the end of the form which finds Cairns relaxed voice teamed up with guitarist Larry Koonse in a series of rhythmic hits that segues nicely into the guitar solo portion of the arrangement. Koonse delivers a swinging solo over the two A sections followed by Cairns finishing the form. That brings us to the real treat of this arrangement, a beautifully composed vocal ease in which Cairns masterfully executes streams of complex rhythmic and intervallic lines in unison with guitar, bass, and piano. This is a great arrangement of this well known standard.


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