Artist: Steve Lipman
Jazz vocalist Steve Lipman returns from a 6-year hiatus to release his third offering Hats Off. Possessing the suave stylizing of vocalist Michael Feinstein, Lipman’s remake of well-known standards from the Great American Songbook interspersed with recent works showcase his vocalese as a magnetic crooner. Lipman shares in a press release about his choice for the recording’s repertoire, “It’s about all kinds of love: romantic love, love for family, love of country; love for all of what constitutes the intricate wonders of humanity.”
Going into the recording, his choices from the pages of the Golden Age of Jazz along with his selection of contemporary tunes are modulated to fit his alto register. A register that handles the swing jazz gamut with sophistication, which plumes with refinement in his remake of “You Make Me Feel So Young.” His instincts are on par with the likes of his predecessors, as though he is channeling the vocalese of Harry Connick, Jr. and Tony Bennett in his delivery. A practitioner of nuanced lyrics, Lipman takes the melody and fashions to it to his liking.
Deviating from the swing jazz palette, his rendition of the “The Sound of Music” theme song is unique, bolstering an island/reggae sway in the rhythmic beats. Also unique is his treatment of Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern’s classic tune “The Way You Look Tonight,” infusing a similar calypso lilt in Ben Falkoff’s guitar strings. The vaudeville/Klezmer-tinged slant of Jim Armenti’s clarinet and the bobbing rhythmic beats threading through ‘Dance Me to the End of Love” are vintage Golden Age jazz.
“The New Colossus/The House I Live In” once again breaks away from the overall swing jazz palette and wets Lipman’s feet in R&B grooves, a fitting combination that bodes nicely with Lipman’s register. The final track is a unique interpretation of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” as the marching cadence of the drums project a softened clip, making room for the swirling horns and Lipman’s heartfelt vocals.
Co-produced by Lipman, Dan Prindle, and Nate Christy of Six String Orchestra Productions, the recording is a medley of Lipman’s musical likes from R&B to reggae and swing. Between his present release and his previous album in 2012, he has found his own voice as a singer and as a storyteller. Hats Off marks Lipman’s arrival as a vocalist in his own right. Still paying tribute to his predecessors, Lipman is no longer an emulator but has discovered his soul and put that part of him into his music.
Steve Lipman – vocals
Dan Thomas: electric guitar (1, 7, 8);
Colin Jalbert: drums (1,2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11);
J. Witbeck: bass (1, 7, 8) ;
John Corda: piano (1, 7, 8);
Nick Borges: trumpet (1, 2, 7, 8) ;
Steve Yarbro: sax (1,7, 8);
Ryan Palkoff: trombone (1, 7, 8);
Reed Southerland: bass (2, 4, 6);
Zach Cross: piano (2, 5, 9);
Ryan Emken: sax (2, 11);
Kathryn Rapacki: trombone (2);
Ben Falkoff: acoustic guitar,electric guitar (3, 5, 6, 9, 10);
Sara Hill: violin (3);
Dan Prindle:cello, piano, bass (3, 4, 5, 9, 10);
Mary Corso: backing vocal (5,10);
Jimmy Robitaille: percussion (5);
Glen Nelson: melodica(5);
Beth Harvey: background vocals (8);
Jim Armenti: clarinet (9);
Nate Christy: acoustic guitar (11).
1. You Make Me Feel so Young
2. Orange Colored Sky
3. Night and Day
4. No One Ever Tells You
5. The Sound of Music
6. The Way You Look Tonight
7. Come Rain or Come Shine
8. The Coffee Song
9. Dance Me to the End of Love
10. The New Colossus / The House I Live In
11. Battle Hymn of the Republic