Tuey Connell

Is This Love?

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For his second independently released recording, Connell proves himself a young romantic singer, part crooner, part jazz. He sports a thinnish, flat voice with limited range that is pleasant enough but not all that compelling and never scatted or improvised. Still he's solidly in the jazz pocket, and he has written a raft of extrapolated themes of true, unrequited, and prospective love. Organist Karl Montzka adds small organ inserts, and Greg Bradfield is a welcome addition on tenor sax. Bassist Matt Ferguson, either majority drummer Michael Raynor or Gerald Dowd, and sometimes trumpeter Vance Thompson get occasional dues. Connell also plays acoustic guitar in spots. In faithful troubadour fashion, Connell mixes up a "Recipe for Love" with a modified shuffle tango and potent organ/trumpet solos while using an easy waltz to conjure his "Sandbox Land." "Deep Dark to Shallow Dawn" is a good swinger with a bossa bridge while he's more confused on the relaxed swinger "What's a Man to Think?," fighting from giving up during the ballad "I Guess I'll Have to Try Again," while "When You're Near" is swung well with big sax and tiny organ inflections. Connell is most convincing on the John Mayall "U.S.A. Union" evergreen waltz "Night Flyer" as he pines for his distanced lover prior to a great horn chart on this immortal jazz-blues melody. There's the easy blues "The Teacher in You" and two takes of the title track, one voice and drums by Raynor only, the other a bossa reprise. Standards include the sax/bass/drums intro on the short, sweet "Sunday" and another good, solid swinger "I'll Always Be in Love With You." The instrumental "Apothecary Blues" cuts Montzka and Bradfield loose on a definitive groove. What Connell offers is in a stage of early development, and while no Harry Connick, Jr., who might really want to be these days? He shows much promise as a songwriter and may prove an adept instrumentalist in the future. There's musical integrity here.