The smooth and elegant style of jazz vocalist Phillip Manuel lights up this 2001 release. The New Orleans singer teams up with a stellar cast of musicians from the Crescent City to put on the ritz with jazz standards from the likes of Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. Several tunes, including the title cut, are written by Manuel himself, along with pianist Michael Pellera. The musical artists backing Manuel up on the CD are some of the best New Orleans has to offer. They include Ellis Marsalis on piano, Roland Guerin and Bill Huntington on bass, and Fred Sanders on organ. Together, they swing on pieces such as "Summertime," "Just Squeeze Me," and "'Round Midnight." The silky and sophisticated voice of Phillip Manuel lends itself to work like this, creating a romantic ambience. The title track, as well as "These Foolish Things" and "Only All of Me Will Do," help set that tone. The CD's most shining jewel is the artist's rendition of Frank Loesser's "If I Were a Bell." With the bell-like clarity of his voice, Manuel makes the song his own. Add this CD to the wine and roses.
AllMusic Review by Rose of Sharon Witmer