Bob Mover – It Amazes Me . . . – Zoho ZM 200809, 67:03 ***1/2:
(Bob Mover – alto & tenor sax, vocals; Kenny Barron – piano; Dennis Irwin – bass; Steve Williams – drums; with Reg Schwager – guitar and Igor Butman – tenor sax)
We seem to be experiencing a raft of exceptional jazzers who think they can sing: Michael Wolff (Love and Destruction), Joel Harrison (Passing Train), and Cyro Baptista (Banquet of the Spirits) immediately come to mind. Actually, some of these people actually can sing; it’s just a question of whether or not they should.
Bob Mover is one of those who definitely shouldn’t.
When you’ve assembled a band so skillful and wide-ranging, selected tunes as powerful and engaging as these, and orchestrated a session as thoughtful and even inspiring as this, why compromise it with earnest though misguided vocals? That blowhard Stanley Crouch plays the integrity card in the liner notes, but I’m not buying it. Someone should’ve taken Mr. Mover aside and let him know that his crooning just isn’t cutting it. Certainly, there must be a strong temptation for those who’ve labored in the instrumental jazz vineyards with only moderate success (as Bob Mover has, lo, these many years) to try for something greater, namely, popular recognition if not stardom. But you know what? It ain’t gonna happen. Instead, what you get is almost a throwaway session.
Yet… Mover is such a consummate player and leader that even with this vocal mishap, he’s still worth hearing. And when you factor in that the vocal parts take up probably less than a fourth of the total time, you’ve still got something eminently worth hearing.
TrackList: How Little We Know, I Believe in You, The Underdog, (Tu Mi) Delirio, Erkin, Stairway to the Stars, Sometime Ago, Deep in a Dream, People Will Say We’re in Love, It Amazes Me
– Jan P. Dennis