Freddy Cole

Merry-Go-Round

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    6
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The colorful liner notes to this sensuous recording by the veteran vocalist and pianist make no bones about Cole's soothing, relaxing approach to standards that range from the obscure (Bill Withers' "Watching You, Watching Me") to the way too often recorded (a pleasant, smoky version of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"). Cole's voice is soft like Mel Tormé's, a bit rough like Tony Bennett, but altogether listenable. The real joy comes from the arrangements by Cole and pianist Cedar Walton. One of the liveliest of these is the final track, a swinging, soulful version of "You're Sensational," but there are imaginative touches of a subtle big-band sound on many other tracks that bring the production up a notch. Walton, trumpeter Lew Soloff, and Wes Montgomery-styled guitarist Jerry Byrd are all given ample solo space as well. Similar-styled performers like Tony Bennett have long garnered more glory for their works, but this is as solid as old-style vocal and trio jazz gets.

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