America The Beautiful, Swinging features Lamphere singing four standards (including one that he performs in two different languages) and two of his originals with a top-notch band consisting of pianist Larry Harris, Andy Brown or Dan McIntyre on guitar, bassist Dennis Carroll, drummer George Fludas, and a horn section with trombonist Russ Philips, Eric Schneider on alto and tenor, and trumpeter Mark Olen.
The opening selection is a highpoint, one of the most swinging versions ever of “America the Beautiful.” The song, which would have made a great national anthem, always had great chord changes and a memorable theme with lyrics that celebrates the country’s natural beauty. Lamphere clearly has a great time interacting with the rhythm section which has pianist Harris sounding a bit like Oscar Peterson.
The singer’s “Las Vegas,” after a quiet verse, becomes a cooker featuring Lamphere’s always-friendly voice, colorful lyrics, and a short but sweet alto solo. On “This Guy’s in Love With You,” Lamphere gives the standard a thoughtful and almost conversational interpretation, showing that he has a fresh approach to ballads. In contrast, “Born Free” is taken as an assertive strut with joyful singing and fine spots for guitar and alto.
A charming version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Meditation” has a strong contribution by trombonist Phillips. The original “The Cubs Go All The Way” is a happy romp celebrating the beloved baseball team. The enjoyable outing concludes with “Un Ragazzo Che ti Ama” which is an effective version of “This Guy’s In Love With You” taken in Italian.
Frank Lamphere’s America The Beautiful, Swinging is a joy and easily recommended to anyone who enjoys first class singing and superior tunes.
-Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian
"America the Beautiful Swinging" rhythm section (June 2019) and vocalist (L-R) Larry Harris pianist, Frank Lamphere vocalist, George Fludas drummer, Dennis Carroll bassist, Andy Brown guitarist - Photo by Bill Klewitz
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