Miles Donahue

Standards, Vol. 2: Polkadots and Moonbeams

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Volume 2 of Miles Donahue's four CDs in his Standards series may include such ancient songs as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," but the reharmonized chord voicings make the pieces sound modern and overly somber. Robin McElhatten's vocals on some of the pieces are assets (although "Over the Rainbow" has been done before!), Mike Turk's harmonica is a bright addition to "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," and the various pianists (Fred Hersch, Alain Mallet, Bruce Barth, and Ben Cook) are all excellent. Donahue, who is heard on alto, tenor, and trumpet, plays quite well and arranged all of the songs, but perhaps he should have retained more of these selections' original joyful spirit rather than having much of the music sound so serious.

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