Lou Lanza

Corner Pocket

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Lou Lanza showed a lot of promise on his debut album, The Road Not Taken, but he outdid himself on his excellent sophomore date Corner Pocket. The Philadelphian, who was 26 when this CD was recorded, once again demonstrated how sensitive and vulnerable a ballad singer he could be -- "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "A Ballad for You" are warm and heartfelt ballad statements. But this time, Lanza provided a lot more scat singing and vocalese and took a lot more chances. The singer has no problem flowing with the flexibility of a hard bop horn player when he embraces Jon Hendricks' lyrics to Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia" and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's "Four," and on Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" (which is part of a medley that also includes Benny Golson's "Whisper Not"), he successfully tackles Mark Murphy's lyrics and adds some of his own. Eclectic and highly unpredictable, Corner Pocket is the best album to start out with if you're exploring Lanza's '90s output.

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