Eldee Young

The Long and Short of Jazz

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What we have here is an album by a pair of pro jazz veterans, bass player/vocalist Eldee Young and pianist Marshall Vente. Both veterans of Chicago jazz scene, as of the early 2000s, Young spent a good bit of time performing in Singapore and Hong Kong; Vente was still in Chicago where he performed, hosted a radio jazz show, and put on an annual jazz festival. Their first album offers music in a variety of rhythms, from swing to ballads, but the prevailing rhythm is Latin. Even Horace Silver's normally funky "The Jody Grind" gets a light Latin twist. Two tracks "So Danco Samba" and "Besame Mucho" feature Chicago's prominent proponent of Brazilian music, Paulinho Garcia. He and everyone else has fun on "Besame Mucho," as it is kicked off with an interpolation from Bizet's Carmen. Most of the vocals are handled by Young, who has a pleasant enough voice with a fine sense of timing, albeit limited range. The best swing work is done by Vente's nonet, Project 9, heard on "Georgia," "Stormy Monday," and "But Not for Me." The latter features serious scatting by Young, whose style combines Clark Terry with Leon Thomas. But overall, Young recalls the great Joe Williams. There's also some high flying soloing by Jim Massoth on alto and clever bass playing by Scott Mason. "Stormy Monday" opens with a short, fervent sermon from Young before he and the band blast on T-Bone Walker's class blues statement. To assure there is sufficient variety, a couple of Christmas songs have been added to the program. Young's raucous, irreverent rendition of "Merry Christmas Baby" is an album highlight. The source of the album's title - - The Long and Short of Jazz - - is apparent from a picture on the album cover. Young and Vente are a regular Mutt and Jeff. But in terms of musical ability, they are equal in stature. This album is recommended.

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