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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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RICHIE KAYE

Music and Mirth

Freshen Up Records (no number)

 

 


1. (Say It's Only A) Paper Moon
2. Talk of the Town
3. Sweet Tooth
4. Tiny Capers
5. Love is Just Around the Corner
6. Desafinado
7. Lean Baby
8. Somewhere
9. Runnin' Wild
10. Out of Breath and Scared to Death of You/You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me
11. They All Laughed
12. Lazy River
13. Margie/Avalon
14. There's a Boat That's Leaving Soon for New York
15. I Remember You
16. Just Friends
17. My Foolish Heart
18. Have You met Miss Jones
19. I'll Take Romance
20. Nagasaki
21. Aren't You Glad You're You?
22. Tequila (Almost Live)

Richie Kaye - Guitars, vocals
Tony Lavorgna - Sax, clarinet, piano
Sam Kuslan - Piano, percussion

 

I sometimes ponder on the miracle of music. Why did humans invent musical instruments and decide to play them together? It is a minor miracle to hear a symphony orchestra or a big band - and even a small group, especially one that sounds like a big band.

For most of this album there are only two musicians but they manage to sound as satisfying as a larger ensemble. Richie Kaye plays the guitar with considerable expertise, equally adept at soloing or playing rhythm guitar. And he sings very acceptably, even if he's not quite a great vocalist. Tony Lavorgna plays the clarinet with delicate clarity and also fills in on piano for My Foolish Heart. He has played in the bands of Jimmy and Tommy Dorey. Young musician Sam Kuslan plays the piano in Tiny Capers (a rare Clifford Brown composition) and percussion on Tequila. Together they make music which is not only attractive but also cheerful.

The album title led me to expect a lot of comic songs but there are only a few humorous numbers. Sweet Tooth tells how the singer's "sweet tooth said I wanna but my wisdom tooth says no". Lean Baby (a song in the repertoire of Dinah Washington and Frank Sinatra) extols the virtues of a thin girlfriend.

Most of the songs are good old standards, delivered with good humour and expert musicality by the duo. Tony Lavorgna occasionally switches from clarinet to alto sax, which he plays equally well. The programme is well varied: from the easy jazz swing of several tunes to the bossa nova of Desafinado, calm ballads like Somewhere, and the hectic but skilful sweep of Runnin' Wild and Nagasaki. The musicians play acoustically, which establishes an intimate mood.

The tracks are short, which means that the pair never outstay their welcome and that they can cram 22 songs onto a 50-minute CD. This is the kind of album which leaves you smiling - and grateful for human beings' invention of music.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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