Ted Rosenthal

My Funny Valentine

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Ted Rosenthal selected 11 standards from the vast repertoire of vocalist Helen Merrill, who is saluted by this instrumental trio date. Joined by bassist George Mraz and drummer Al Foster, Rosenthal easily meets the challenge of finding fresh paths into these frequently recorded songs, including a shimmering "My Funny Valentine" that is slowed to a crawl to emphasize its lyrical nature and a whimsical "Alone Together" that begins with an eerie introduction. Mraz and Foster set up a Latin vamp to "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise" before the pianist makes his entrance, avoiding the typical racehorse tempo preferred on many jazz dates. The undercurrent used by Rosenthal in his introduction of "Summertime" is borrowed from Gil Evans' arrangement for Miles Davis, though the jaunty body of this pulsating chart is the pianist's own. Though she doesn't perform on this tribute, Helen Merrill appears in the liner photograph with the musicians, a nice touch.

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