by Willard Manus
in question suggests an old-fashioned honky-tonk, where the music is funky,
the atmosphere uncensored. As imagined by Alexander Gershman and Charlie
Midnight, who wrote the music and lyrics to the thirteen tunes on SASHAS
BLOC--THE CLUB RENDEZVOUS, its a place where time stands still.
No questions, no answers, no judgements...just good times.
With lead vocals by Nikki Lorenzo, guest vocals by Matthew Morrison, and
a big band playing smartly behind them, this new CD captivates from start
to finish. The songs and musicianship might have a 1920s feel-lots
of slide-trombone and banjo licks--but they are performed in such a fresh,
lively way that they end up sounding contemporary.
The blues saturates numbers like Land of Noir (roll,
roll my friend, right to the bitter end) and Alley Cat
(I like the way you wear your hat, I like it like that). Lorenzo
sings these ditties in a sultry, sexy way, only to become cheeky and defiant
on I Choose Happiness and Swing and Swagger. She
is the ideal jazz singer, able to handle everything Gershman and Midnight
throw at her.
RENDEZVOUS should also be praised for the work of its ensemble. Led by
trumpeter Kye Palmer, trombonist Bob McChesney, pianist Andy Langham,
guitar/banjoist James Lum, the band plays with such joy and pizzazz that
it becomes infectious.
(No website given; try googling Gershman & Midnight).