Loonis McGlohon

Loonis In London

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AllMusic Review by

Friend, confidant, and collaborator with foremost American composer Alec Wilder, as well as accompanist supreme, Loonis McGlohon has made a rare recording as a leader. McGlohon was the musical director for the erstwhile Wilder popular radio series, American Popular Song. But more often than not, he is accompanying a singer, a skill at which he is particularly accomplished, the Gerald Moore of jazz piano, if you will. He has worked with numerous singers like Eileen Farrell, Teddi King, Mark Murphy, and David Allyn. His presence brings out the best in those whose voices may have seen better days, like Dick Haymes and Johnny Hartman.

McGlohon's approach to the music reflects his experience with backing vocalists. He doesn't use the music to flaunt his virtuosity or as a vehicle for pianistic gimmickry. Rather his playing is structured to explore the nuances and vagaries of the songs he has chosen for the play list. And this program is especially diverse. There are swinging, jazz renditions of "Tangerine" and "Lazybones," and a visit to a couple of songs from My Fair Lady such as "Get Me to the Church on Time" -- after all, this recording was done in London. These are interspersed with ardent interpretations from the book of American popular songs like "A Foggy Day," as well as an elegiac renderings of his and Wilder's poignant "Blackberry Winter" and the gentle "Where's the Child I Used to Hold?" All in all, a music gourmet's delight. McGlohon's true calling is to support all those vocalists who depend dearly on his accompanying prowess, but he should continue to come out with a solo recording to remind everyone that he is a significant talent in his own right. Bass player Pete Morgan is important on this album in bringing that talent to the fore.

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