CabaretScenes CD Review

Reviewed by Alix Cohen for Cabaret Scenes

The title, Swing That Music!, is a little like saying: tomorrow the sun will rise. Swing is a given; it’s under this performer’s skin like bones. Arrangements celebrate and respect. Call/respond numbers are performed with brio. Solo vocals have an attitude that can be imitated, but sound authentic coming from this young man.

Bacher’s CD is bookended by two HAPPY selections. “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” (Robert B. Sherman/Richard M. Sherman) is serious fun. High‐spirited, infectious rhythm drives bebop and melodically doodling scat. “Swing That Music” (Louis Armstrong/Horace Gerlach) lets several musicians step up as if in friendly competition, playing “Truth or Dare.” Bacher’s vocal starts a cappella, then swings out, groove‐minded and giddy.

The urbane “If It’s Love You Want, Baby, That’s Me” (Sid Robin) includes a wry, spoken segment by Bacher: “…come over to my place, there’ll be close encounters…dollface….” (That last word actually seems natural.) Performance evokes Astaire‐style tap. Very cool guitar enhances.

Southern inflection emerges with “Early in the Mornin’” (Louis Jordan) and “St. James Infirmary Blues” (traditional). Bacher is relaxed and fluent enough to get away with the pronunciation of words like “no mo” (no more) and “mo‐oh‐oh‐nin” (morning). During the first song, some homey grit appears. A horn swings its hips. The brass pack responds with resonant wolf whistles. “Infirmary” is an iconic, wah‐wah N’Orleans march. One horn emits a dusky wail. Another comments heavy‐lidded, in slang. Vocals stretch like taffy. It’s fraught, unfussy and dignified.

The CD features two duets with vocalist Cyrille Aimée. An up‐tempo “That Old Black Magic” (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer) finds Aimée breathily rounding consonants, trailing her ‘s’, channeling Eartha Kitt. Bacher holds notes in his mouth as if wine tasting, then spits them out fast. Vive, as they say, la difference. (Long live the difference.)

A tandem “La Vie en rose”(Edith Piaf/Marguerite Monnot/Louis Guglielmi) / “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” (Bert Kalmar/Harry Ruby/Oscar Hammerstein II) is sheer panache. Aimée sings in warm, gauzy French, or hums. Bacher‐as‐balladeer suavely ambles in, eyebrows up, hands in his pockets. Piano is eeeaaasssy. A dreamy horn one might follow anywhere floats by remembering. The two songs sync like newlyweds.

“Dream a Little Dream of Me” (Fabian Andre/Wilber Schwandt/Gus Kahn) again showcases Bacher‐as‐balladeer. This one swings smoothly like a hammock. Piano melody strolls around the old porch. Languid horns stretch and curl up. Vibrato appears at the end of phrases. The number recedes with an evocative whistle. Aplomb. (Hoagy Carmichael would’ve loved this one.)

Jon Hendricks’ “I Want You to Be My Baby” riding caffeinated piano and pinball horn, to me, lacked personal stamp. The same might be said for “Just a Gigolo” (Irving Caesar/Leonello Casucci/Jules Brammer) and “I Ain’t Got Nobody” (Roger Hraham/Spencer Williams) which
sounds too chipper by half.

This is a fine CD, both for those who are already fans of the period (hold that banner high) and those who want to dip into it, eschewing total immersion. Musicianship is superior. (As is production.) A good listen.

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