Jack Thorncroft

Sing Some, Play Some

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Jack Thorncraft has been working in and around Sydney, Australia, since the '60s. Since that time, he has played with such jazz headliners as James Morrison and Herb Ellis. Thorncraft's discriminating selection of songs for the play list -- -liberally sprinkled with his compositions -- - allows him to showcase his ability to successfully take on a number of styles on tracks where he sings. He comes off as a hip bluesman à la Mose Allison on such melodies as a saga about a jailhouse resident, "I Just Want to Go Home," and one about a clever, slippery character named "Joe Suave." The bluesy atmosphere owes much to the Hammond organ by one of the down-under country's premier keyboard players, Col Nolan. When Thorncraft goes jazzy, he becomes light-voiced and wispy like a Hoagy Carmichael on "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Samantha," both featuring Warwick Alder's flügelhorn. A folksy "Why Must It Be So Hard?" recalls the protest songs from the '60s. On the romantic ballads, Thorncraft doesn't quite come off as well as on the upbeat, jump material. His airy delivery, while sincere, makes it hard to take him seriously as a romantic balladeer, although his "Skylark" is touching. His bass playing is much like his singing, swift fingered and light touched. A premier track that puts his bass to good use is "Nostalgia in Times Square," which also has Julian Lee doing yeoman work on piano and Dave Sanders the same on drums. Jim Kelly also makes important contributions to several of the tracks, such as the witty "First You, Then You, Next You." If this album is any indication, jazz continues to flourish in Australia. Recommended.

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