Pianist Bob Dorough is to the jazz repertoire what Loretta Lynn is to country music. Trained in jazz piano, Dorough is best known for his role as the music director of a national project in 1971, assigned to set the multiplication table to music which grew into the popular Saturday morning cartoon series Schoolhouse Rock. Some forty years later, Dorough maintains an infectious sprint in the cadence of his keys and a heartland-tempered twang in his vocal register. He puts all of himself into his music from the raw, craggy continence of his vocals to the polished, buoyant rustling of his keys.
A fusion of scripted chord movements and improvised phrasing, Dorough’s latest release Eulalia from Merry Lane Records emphasizes the elasticity of the instruments and the keen reciprocation of the musicians on board to play off of one another. Dorough and his daughter Aralee demonstrate such active and reactive prowess between the piano and flute in the title track. The curvature of Aralee’s flute gives the track shape and an organic texture while the keys incubate the piece in a sheath of bliss. The rippling waves of Thomas Hultén’s trombone through “But For Now” pervade a Cab Calloway vibe supplemented by the sprinkling flare of the keys. The swinging romper “I’ve Got Just About Everything” is wreathe in the tweeting vibrations of the horns resonating a nostalgic glow that’s reminiscent of Hoagy Carmichael, and counter-balanced by the spiritual ruminations of “A Few Days of Glory” featuring the soaring vocals of Tammie Bradley and the bluesy hues of the saxophone.
Pulsating with modern virility and wielding the crisp interplay of vintage bebop, Eulalia partners free-style with formulaic chord patterns harking back to the approach taken by the architects of ’50s jazz. Liken to the way country music comes naturally to Loretta Lynn, spindling jazz idioms comes naturally to Dorough. The rawness of Dorough’s vocals combined with polished instrumentation make for a personalized recording.
Bob Dorough – piano, vocals, and arrangements; Steve Gilmore – acoustic bass; Herman Matthews – drums; Phil Woods – alto sax; Aralee Dorough – flute; Dennis Dotson – trumpet; Thomas Hultén – trombone and tuba; Warren Sneed – tenor and soprano sax; Keith Vivens – electric bass (Tracks 3 & 7); Ray Wilson – guitar; Mike Mizma – vibes and pandeiro (Track 2); Gary Mitchell, Jr. – choirmaster, vocals & Hammond B3 (Track 7); Tammie Bradley – vocals (Track 7)
- Love (Webster’s Dictionary)
- Whatever Happened to Love Songs
- But For Now
- To Be or Not to Bop
- I’ve Got Just About Everything
- A Few Days of Glory
- Eulalia Reprise