The Best of Times

Gary LeMel

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The Best of Times Review

by Scott Yanow

The music on this CD was all out previously on Gary LeMel's earlier albums Moonlighting, Lost in Your Arms, and Romancing the Screen, dating from 1994-2001. LeMel has an expressive voice and is heard here exclusively on very slow renditions of ballads, although sometimes the instrumental sections are taken at faster tempos. A sameness is felt by the third song, and it is difficult for one's mind not to wander. Certainly these renditions of "Call Me Irresponsible" (which co-features Paula Cole), "Skylark," "Here's to Life," and "When I Fall in Love" will not make one forget the definitive versions, and many of the arrangements are overblown. Only the closing "Imagination," which is performed in a combo with prominent playing by bassist Bob Hurst and tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard, has much life. Overall, the music is heartfelt, but it would be nice to hear LeMel on fresher, spontaneous, and more inspired material.

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