by Susan Frances
Album Review: Love Is a Song Anyone Can Sing from Jack Kilby and the Front Line
Artist: Jack Kilby and the Front Line
Label: Crab Shack Music
The music of Love Is a Song Anyone Can Sing, the latest release from drummer Jack Kilby and his band the Front Line, speaks in a language that commingles the many facets of jazz. The selection of classic pop novelties, favorite popular theme songs, and hard bop standards are re-imagined with a contemporary twist, infusing them with a voice that gives these songs a human quality. From the whistling toots of Antonio Hart’s saxophone personalizing “Life in a Glasshouse” to the glittering passages of Mark G. Meadows’ keys in “Colors of the Wind,” the tracks are stylized, brimming with inspiring nuances and sleek rhapsodies as the latter is cratered by the elegant spins of Braxton Cook’s flute.
The refined voicing of Christie Dashiell lingers with an amorous tint, strolling casually along “Pure Imagination,” wrapped in a succession of graceful swells, illustrating the band’s flair for propelling her vocals into flight. Peter Del Grosso’s french horn is front and center in “Jupiter,” setting up for the lounging ripples of the saxophones and igniting the moments of excitement and reflection in the instrumentation, coursing intermittently along the track. Brightening the mood, the band traipses through “Driftin'” with a carefree attitude, exhibiting the jaunty traction of a cat ambling with a leisurely stride.
There are five separate versions of “With Love From…” The House Band version is branded in traits of European-infused folk. Another is retooled with high pitched sonics. And still another adaptation of the track shimmers with a ragtime shuffle, displaying off-the-cuff improvising on Meadows’ keys. The sweeping strokes of the horns in “A Tribute to Someone” pay homage to the early engineers of hard bop, exhibiting a relaxing supper club vibe. Discernibly, the boogie woogie tempo of “Sensitive Like Ladies” has a nostalgic feel, whereas “Even More Love from the House Band” threads a modern reggae tremor in the percussive beats.
Forming new models with the hallmarks of jazz as a template, Jack Kilby and the Front Line’s interpretations of classic pop and hard bop standards exercise their aptitude to improvise and integrate their individual parts to create a melodically woven collage.
Jack Kilby – drums and bandleader
Kris Monson – bass
Allyn Johnson – piano
John D’earth – trumpet
Charles Owens – tenor saxophone
Elad Cohen – trombone
Antonio Hart – soprano and alto saxophones
Christie Dashiell – vocalist
Soloman Howard – vocalist
Micah Robinson – vocalist
Braxton Cook – flute
Mark G. Meadows – piano
Marcus Tenney – trumpet
Peter Del Grosso – french horn