Jim Porcella

You've Got That Look!: Live at the El Morocco

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Since this 1993 recording, Jim Porcella has reinvented himself, or at least added another dimension to his persona, as Bombay Jim, the lead singer with the nine-piece powerhouse Swinging Sapphires. But until then, he did his thing as a full-throated baritone cut from the mold of Dick Haymes, Vic Damone, and others of similar vocal persuasion. The venue for this live performance with the Jeff Holmes Big Band was not the famous El Morocco nightclub in New York noted for its zebra-skinned decor. This was a club of the same name in Worcester, MA. But the music is just as exciting and vibrant as anything the old place might have offered. He's backed by a 20-piece band that, despite its size, doesn't get in the way of the vocalist. In fact, it's sometimes hard to believe that this big crew is actually on the set, unobtrusive as it is. The band joins Porcella in attacking a play list of 12 tunes running from standards through Latin material, traditional pop, and a couple of originals. An extra attraction is the presence of Dick Johnson, who worked with Woody Herman and George Masso. He takes the bulk of the soprano sax and clarinet solos, and is heard to especially good effect on "Georgia." But this group has other fine players as well, including leader/arranger Jeff Holmes, whose piano comps well underneath Porcella on "Triste." Holmes shows his adaptability with trumpet and fl├╝gelhorn on "Just in Time" and "'S Wonderful." Regardless of the way a type of rhythm is being played, Porcella handles it with ease, good taste, and fine phrasing. This is an old-fashioned album of almost 60 minutes of good big-band music with a singer, and is recommended.

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