Ben E. King

Shades of Blue

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Ben E. King is best known for his rhythm & blues recordings, so Shades of Blue is a return to his roots. He is accompanied by a band led by trumpeter Tim Ouimette that includes a single guest appearance apiece by tenor saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman and vibraphonist Milt Jackson. The orchestra is very much in the Count Basie groove, King adds a lot of soul to the lyrics without improvising much, and the music swings in a pleasing fashion. Among the selections that King interprets are "Just for a Thrill," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," "Stairway to the Stars," and "Baby Won't You Please Come Home." Nothing too surprising occurs, but the results are easy to enjoy. This is a happy set of mostly familiar material.

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