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Just for You by Michael Camacho

The slow but steady rise of male singers on the jazz scene today can be traced not to Sinatra or Bennett, but to Harry Connick Jr. He's been the benchmark of the modern generation, combining a pleasing vocal style and matinee looks with a yen for writing original material. Buble, Cincotti, Pizzarelli, Cullum and all those with an urge to pen "new standards" have emerged from under that shadow.Into this increasing crowded pool wades one Michael Camacho, who combines standards and originals (surprise!) on his debut disc, Just for You, whose weaknesses mute its strengths. The Brooklynite, who in the mid-80s hit the pop Top Ten as half of the rock-funk one-hit-wonder duo Sly Fox, does bring some good jazz chops to the table. Too many of today's crop of singers sound like pop stars over a combo, but Camacho actually seems to be listening to the band. You can hear some real interaction on tunes such as "Blue Room," where he croons the melody over drums quite capably. Camacho also shows some skill at stretching phrases, and unlike that pop/combo crowd, he can actually scat, and scat decently.Unfortunately where "Just for You" falls short is Camacho's voice, which is pleasant but lacks personality. If a singer doesn't possess a powerful instrument like, say, Tony Bennett or Connick, he still has to put some character behind it. John Pizzarelli is a good example of this. Camacho's voice is light but airy, with a tendency to trail off at the end of phrases, and at the end of the disc just doesn't stand out memorably. And as to his original pieces, which comprise five of the twelve tunes here, only the clever lyrics of "Here's to the Blues" make a lasting impression.It's a shame too, because Camacho has the tools of a top-flight "jazz" singer, not just a pop stylist. Now he has to work on delivering the goods.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Michael Camacho
  • CD Title: Just for You
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: New Found Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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