Album Review: Light at the End of the Tunnel from Angela O’Neill and the Outrageous8
Album: Light at the End of the Tunnel
Artist: Angela O’Neill and the Outrageous8
Label: Outrageous8 Records
Light at the End of the Tunnel, the third release from Angela O’Neill and the Outrageous8 is so pristinely polished that its sonic shine is palpable. Containing arrangements from Harry Smallenburg and Rocky Davis, the recording is produced and played by an all-star team of Los Angeles session musicians and engineers. From the swinging play of “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die,” sung by Al Timss, to the torchlight glisten of “Come Rain, Come Shine,” helmed by Angela O’Neill on lead vocals, the jazz-soaked palette has a traditional glint that fuels this endeavor.
The Latin tint in the rhythmic beats of “Now and Again” resonates a big band flurry as the frolicking jaunts of the saxophones and Smallenburg’s trombone entwine, supplemented by the ruffling chatter of Rocky Davis’s keys. O’Neill’s reimagination of “New York Minute” enhances this iconic tune written by Don Henley, Danny Kortchmar, and Jai Winding, drawing the listener’s attention to the full impact of the lyrics as she narrates, “Harry got up / all dressed in black / went down to the station / but he never came back / they found his clothing scattered somewhere down the track / and he won’t be down on Wall Street in the morning / he had a home / love of a girl / but men get lost sometimes / as years unfurl… what the head makes cloudy / the heart makes very clear / the days were so much brighter / in the times that she was here / I know that somebody somewhere is gonna make these dark clouds disappear / and until that day / I believe / in the New York minute / everything can change.” Her cover induces deep contemplation with the interlude of the flute and saxophone swirls keeping the listener pinned to the melody.
The mood turns bright again with “On A Clear Day,” featuring the clarion tone of Bill A. Jones’s vocals then traversing into “Hallelujah I Love Him,” hinged to a jumping boogie woogie groove that moves the track briskly. The Latin swing shimmy of “It Might As Well Be Spring” travels with a sensual gait as Jackie Gibson’s vocals saunter sprightly across the melodic progressions. The recording closes with “When The Sun Comes Out” showcasing a showtunes-like theatric in O’Neill’s vocal swagger.
Light at the End of the Tunnel offers a jazz experience in its traditional mode with all of the musicians in the Outrageous8 veterans of the Los Angeles jazz and big-band scene. From Latin and American swing to big band sizzles and torchlight simmers, the recording celebrates the jazz palette’s traditions, giving them a refreshing sound.
Angela O’Neill – bandleader and vocals
Sam Morgan – tenor sax and music director
Ron Cyger – alto sax, soprano sax, flute, and clarinet
Rich Walker – baritone sax and flute
Paul Litteral – trumpet
Harry Smallenburg – trombone and arranger
Rocky Davis – piano and arranger
Bill Bodine – electric bass
Tony Pia – drums
Michael Rosen – harmonica on “Hallelujah I Love Him”
Al Timss – vocals on “I’m Gonna Live ‘Till I Die”
Bill A. Jones – vocals on “On A Clear Day”
Jackie Gibson – vocals on “It Might As Well Be Spring,” backing vox on “Hallelujah I Love Him”
William BChill Bodine – backing vox on “Hallelujah I Love Him”
Beth Anderson – backing vox on “Hallelujah I Love Him”