Cory Jamison

Here's to Hoagy

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Hoagy Carmichael is a major contributor to the Great American Popular Songbook, ranking right up there with Cole Porter, the Gershwin Brothers, Irving Berlin, and others. Yet, while his melodies are readily recognizable, often Carmichael is not associated with writing them. When told Carmichael authored a particular song, the response often is "Oh, I didn't know he wrote that." Cory Jamison became familiar with his music when she was a student at Indiana University in Carmichael's hometown of Bloomington. This album honors the composer in his centennial year of 1999. Jamison has what one could call a musical-comedy voice as distinguished from a lounge or cabaret singer. It's powerful, flexible, with impeccable diction. She doesn't waste much time trying to be subtle or sophisticated and it works. But there's tons of emotion on "I Get Along Without You Very Well." As far as the play list goes, she hasn't succumbed to the temptation of loading it with just familiar Carmichael material. Certainly, tunes as "Stardust," "The Nearness of You," and "Georgia on My Mind" get their share of space on the card. But there are lesser Carmichael creations such as "Bread and Gravy," "The Monkey Song," and what is believed to be Carmichael's last composition, "Serenade to Gabriel." Compared to his gems, maybe these deserve to be relegated to obscurity. But their exposure by Jamison and her friends is a welcome one. There are plenty of friends on this album. The only one on all tracks is piano player Dan Stetzel. Chicago jazz violinist Johnny Frigo contributes as does harmonica player Howard Levy, who is mounting a challenge to Toots Thielemans' prominence with that instrument. Songs as "Ole Buttermilk Sky" seems just right for a harmonica. All the songs are just right for Cory Jamison. Recommended.

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