Don Shelden

Imagination

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Singer Don Shelden and arranger/conductor Marion Evans team up again for an album of standards. Once more, Shelden is supported by ear-catching Evans arrangements played by a big band that cooks. While continuing to deliver the material with a strong baritone voice, this time around Shelden has become more subtle, shrewd, and smooth. He's obviously picked up a few pointers about phrasing, timing, and dynamics. There are other matters that remain constant from the first album. Shelden's affection for Frank Sinatra remains as strong as ever, going with songs the master sang such as "I Concentrate on You" and "The Song Is You." Although Shelden uses some of the Sinatra mannerisms, thanks to the Evans' arrangements this is not a cloning session. Another element that stays the same is the quality of the band. Many of the members are repeats from the first album, and they sizzle, driven by the drums of Dennis Mackrel. Unfortunately, another particular carried over from the first album is the playing time. The first album offered about 25 minutes. This one doesn't do much better, with a little more than 30 minutes! That's carrying the rubric about "too much of a good thing" too far. But none of the precious moments are wasted on this recommended swinging album.

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