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PETER ELDRIDGE

Disappearing Day

Sunnyside Communications SSC1458

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Mind To Fly

  2. Looking Forward To Looking Back

  3. I Wish I Had An Evil Twin

  4. Jenny Wren

  5. Forever Blue

  6. Wish You Were With Me

  7. Driving To Town Late To Mail A Letter

  8. Scared Of The Dark

  9. Witchcraft

  10. Around Us

  11. House

  12. Some Other Time

    Peter Eldridge - Vocals, piano (tracks 1-9, 11-12), piano only (track 10), leg slapping (track 3), wooden plank (track 11)

    Alan Hampton - Guitar (tracks 1, 2, 6, 8), background vocals (tracks 1, 3, 7, 8)

    Matt Aronoff - Bass

    Ben Wittman - Drumset, percussion (tracks 1-8, 11), harmonium (track 2), accordion (track 8)

    Anat Cohen - Clarinet (track 5)

    Jo Lawry - Triangle (tracks 1, 4), background vocals (tracks 4, 7)

    Jesse Lewis - Electric guitars (tracks 2, 12)

    Marc Shulman - Guitars (tracks 3, 7)

    Mariel Roberts - Cello (tracks 3-5, 7)

    Caleb Burhans - Violin, viola (tracks 4, 5)

    Laila Biali - Background vocals (tracks 1, 4, 8)

    Lauren Kinhan - Background vocals (track 5)

    Janis Siegel - Background vocals (track 5)

    Becca Stevens - Vocals, guitar (track 6)

    The Elm City Girls Choir (Tom Brand, Artistic Director) (track 10)

    Peter Eldridge teaches in the voice faculty at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in the USA. Before taking up his present appointment he was head of the Manhattan School of Music jazz voice department for 18 years. In addition to being a founder member of New York Voices and part of the vocal group Moss, he also performs with the bassist Matt Aronoff, as the duo Foolish Hearts. He has made numerous guest appearances, including sessions with Jim Hall, Jane Monheit, Nancy Wilson and Bobby McFerrin. This album is his fifth solo CD, spread over a period of sixteen years. He is involved as either composer or lyricist (or both) on seven of the tracks on this latest disc. His lyrics are intensely personal and sophisticated and complement his music well. The man clearly knows what he's about.

    There's a consistency of quality that runs through the album, with perhaps only the brief Wish You With Me slightly off the pace. Eldridge is in great voice on Some Other Time. His version of this lovely ballad by Bernstein, Comden and Green invites comparison with Jane Monheit's treatment of the same song. Both are outstanding and I guess you could describe both as 'a slow burn' but Eldridge's effort is idiosyncratic and appealing in a quite distinctive way. Jesse Lewis on guitar is worthy of mention, too. The other familiar tune is Witchcraft, one of Sinatra's hits. It comes across as short but sassy, with an imaginative arrangement and interpretation. Oh, and there's a wonderful solo on bass from Matt Aronoff. Around Us, one of Eldridge's compositions with words by James Thurber, sounds like a piece of contemorary sacred music. The Elm City Girls' Choir perform it, accompanied by Peter Eldridge on piano. It may be a curiosity of sorts, but it is undeniably beautiful. The nearest parallel on a jazz recording that I can recall is on Jan Garbarek's Rites album where there's a track on the second disc featuring a boys' choir singing a Garbarek original,We Are The Stars. This has something of the same flavour.Driving To Town Late To Mail A Letter runs Some Other Time close for sheer class. It's a Robert Bly poem set to a melody by Eldridge, atmospherically evoking a cold and snowy night. The instrumental parts are skilfully interwoven with the bass conspicuously inventive and Eldridge captures the mood expertly.

    These are not the only moments of note. Mind To Fly, although maybe a little busy, enables us to enjoy voices (fore and aft), emphatic piano playing, and even to hear Jo Lawry on triangle, a rarity on a jazz record! Looking Forward To Looking Back is an interesting theme and arrangement. Jenny Wren is a Paul McCartney number from his Wings days. Piano, bass and cello combine with nifty drumming and stylish background vocals to make a satisfying track. I liked the Latin-tinged Forever Blue which is enriched by Anat Cohen's fluent clarinet, impressive vocal backing and the strong support of Ben Wittman on drums and percussion. Scared Of The Dark has the intrepid skills of Alan Hampton on guitar to admire, while Luciana Souza's tune for a poem by Pablo Neruda, House, gives Eldridge on piano another opening to show his ability on that instrument in a way that is beguiling yet rhythmic.

    Throughout this album, I was reminded of the music of Joni Mitchell. In other words, it is possible to consider Peter Eldridge as a singer/songwriter on the borderline of jazz and popular music. Whatever conclusion the listener reaches on that count (and labels can be limiting), this CD provides interest and enjoyment in spades. The calibre of the musicians is beyond question and, over it all, looms the creativity and versatility of the exceptional Eldridge.

    James Poore




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