Tony Scherr

Twist In The Wind

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Jazz fans may recognize Tony Scherr's name -- he got his professional start as a bassist with the Woody Herman band before settling in New York and playing alongside such celebrated names as Bill Frisell, the Lounge Lizards, and Norah Jones. But now his journey has taken him in a different direction, and Twist in the Wind finds him in a rootsy singer/songwriter mode. It turns out that he's a fine songwriter, and he's also probably a better singer than he lets on; as you listen to this album it's hard to escape the nagging suspicion that he can sing better than this, and that his wobbly intonation and laconic delivery are something of a put-on. Notice, for example, the album's opening track: a snappy, tightly-constructed piece of tuneful folk-rock that is undermined by lazy, swipe-at-the-melody singing. Elsewhere his approach feels more natural: the sloppy jazz feel of "All That I Could Ask" pushes nicely against the intensity of the lyrics ("It is worth my while to watch you napping/To love you madly"), "Between" is a fine and torchy rocker that makes up for what it lacks in hooks with a nicely corrosive guitar solo; "Black Sheep" incorporates strings to subtle and brilliant effect; "While I Was Gone" is a good country tune, while "The Good Life" is a willfully weird Latin one. Scherr's deconstruction of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" is more interesting conceptually than it is enjoyable in practice, but it is interesting conceptually. Overall, this is an impressive and enjoyable sophomore effort. A little more vocal discipline will make future albums even better and more interesting.

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