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

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Live with the WDR
Big Band Cologne

Palmetto PM 2160



1. Baby Driver
2. Stolen Moments
3. Love Me or Leave Me
4. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
5. Cold
6. The World Keeps You Waiting
7. I Do it For Your Love
8. Darn That Dream
9. Almost Like Being in Love
10. The Sultan Fainted

New York Voices
Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader, Peter Eldridge - Vocals
WDR Big Band
Michael Abene - Conductor, arranger
Karolina Strassmayer, Heiner Wiberny - Alto saxes
Olivier Peters - Tenor sax, soprano sax
Paul Heller - Tenor sax
Jens Neufang - Baritone sax
Andy Haderer,Rob Bruynen,Klaus Osterloh,Wim Both,John Marshall - Trumpets
Ludwig Nuss,Dave Horler,Bernt Laukamp,Mattis Cederberg - Trombones
Frank Chastenier - Piano
Paul Shigihara - Guitar
John Goldsby - Bass
Hans Dekker - Drums


This CD was recorded at Cologne's Kölner Philharmonie in May 2008, when New York Voices were celebrating their 20 years together. The album has only been released in 2013, so the group can celebrate its 25th anniversary, as they are still together, after only minor personnel changes. The togetherness of this vocal quartet is clear in every track of this superb album, which consists of jazz standards and a couple of compositions by members of the group. There are also adventurous interpretations of what might be regarded as pop songs, including two items by Paul Simon (Baby Driver and I Do It for Your Love).

New York Voices have polished their vocal mixture into a seamless blend, while the individual members of the group can readily take solos. Instead of simply singing songs, they seem to explore them - through their vocal harmonies as well as their attention to lyrics. And however clever the arrangements are, they deliver songs with feeling and conviction. In Oliver Nelson's wonderful Stolen Moments, they provide backing harmonies to instrumental solos. In Love Me or Leave Me, Lauren Kinhan swaps scatted fours with trumpeter Andy Haderer. And In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning includes a magical rallentando and diminuendo between a long introduction and the melody.

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning also illustrates the precision of the WDR Band and the way that it blends with the vocalists. The singers are never swamped by the band, possibly thanks to the first-class recording. The band not only works together as an integrated body but it also contains some splendid soloists, notably altoist Karolina Strassmayer in Baby Driver, guitarist Paul Shigihara in The World Keeps You Waiting, and pianist Frank Chastenier in The Sultan Fainted. The band's cogent, complex arrangements are by its leader, Michael Abene. My only complaint is that the band's personnel listings seem to omit some details. For instance, is that an unlisted organ or electronic keyboard I hear on Cold.

Perhaps the highlight of the album is Almost Like Being in Love, which New York Voices perform a cappella. But I also love their version of Stolen Moments. In fact I am happy with every track on this album: 75 minutes of bliss!

Tony Augarde

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