V eteran blue-eyed soul singer Billy Vera has really found a style with Big Band Jazz! Instead of the typical overworked, clichéd standards on other artists’ albums, Billy digs deep in the well he knows better than anybody: The Great Black American Songbook. This latest release from Billy Vera is now available for digital download on iTunes and Amazon, in stores in now.
Every song here was written by one of the greats of black show business. Duke Ellington, Billy Straynorn, Count Basie, Buddy and James P. Johnson. No tired, corny tunes for Mr. Vera; the best-known item on this CD is “Since I Fell For You.” As usual, Billy Vera makes the hippest choices, and sweet surprises like Strayhorn’s “My Little Brown Book.”
Recorded at Hollywood’s historic Capitol Studio A, home of Sinatra, Dino and Nat Cole, the sound is perfection. The band, arranged by Chris Walden, swings like Basie. On “Blue And Sentimental,” you’d swear the Count was leading the band! Satchmo’s “When It’s Sleepytime Down South” will break your heart from its sheer beauty. You can tell these guys love and respect Billy; the solos they play for him are spectacular.
Replacing Vera’s old partner, the late Judy Clay, is young Tamela D’Amico, who duets on “I’ll Never Be Free.” This girl has a future.
The album closes with two Vera-penned classics: a reinvented “Room With A View,” written with blues legend Lowell Fulson, and a big band version of his signature song, “At This Moment,” with a solo by the soulful Jerry Peterson, who played on the original hit. Enjoy!