Hank Jones & Frank Wess – Hank & Frank II – Lineage Records

by | May 24, 2009 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Hank Jones & Frank Wess – Hank & Frank II – Lineage  Records LIN-106 [Distr. by Allegro] *****:

(Hank Jones piano; Frank Wess, flute & tenor sax; Mickey Roker, drums; Marion Cowings, vocals; Ilya Lushtak, guitar; John Webber, bass)

This is the welcome sequel to Hank and Frank’s 2006 CD, with the addition of terrific Russian jazz guitarist Ilya Lushtak and vocalist Marion Cowings on several of the 15 tracks. This is more superb straight-ahead mainstream jazz featuring two of the longtime leaders in the business. New York-based Cowings has worked alongside Jon Hendricks, and proves a most listenable and intriguing singer.  His vocal interpretation of Miles Davis’ solo in “If I Were a Bell,” and his own original lyrics created for Quincy Jones’ Quintessence are a delight.

The overall choice of tunes is to be commended – not the sort you see over and over on jazz albums.  There are a few slightly corny choices, such as “More Than You Know” and “For All We Know,” but Hank, Frank and their cohorts deliver them with such enthusiasm and freshness that it’s like hearing them for the first time. There’s some quiet ballads here, and even a gospel flavor on the initial two tracks, so the proceedings never take on a feeling of sameness. Personally I tend to prefer all-instrumental albums, but Cowings’ approach on all of his vocals is so right that I’m enjoying this CD immensely.

TrackList:

1. Sunday   

2. Lord Prepare Me   
3. More Than You Know   
4. If I Were a Bell   
5. I Had the Craziest Dream   
6. When Your Lover Has Gone   
7. Chasing the Bird   
8. Ill Wind   
9. Jordu   
10. First Time I Saw Ella   
11. Quintessence   
12. You Don’t Know What Love Is   
13. Stay as Sweet as You Are   
14. For All We Know   
15. I’ll Be Seeing You   

 — John Henry

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