Before tending to the job of reviewing this CD, please allow this critic an indulgence. On the cover, there is a single sentence which causes rising bile in those of us who jealously hold jazz to be America’s one pure art form: "Kenny Barron appears courtesy of Universal Music Jazz France." France? France?? We have to run to France to get the pleasure of listening to a homegrown genius of Kenny Barron’s stature? The support of jazz in America demands that those of us who love it must be ever vigilant, and doing whatever we can to keep our best musicians close, not causing them to have to go to Europe to make a living.
The soapbox is gone, Bob Mover’s CD is the subject, and it’s a pip. Mover has put together a fine set of musicians, and a fine set of tunes for them to assay. The opening cut features Mover’s crooning and alto saxing before the aforementioned Barron shows why he is one of the most sought after pianists of the last three decades.
A surprise is Mover’s not singing the second tune, "I Believe in You" (from Broadway’s "How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying)"). Too bad, because the song has terrific lyrics. Oh well, little harm done. Other highlights include "The Underdog", a tear-in-your-beer ballad sung with seemingly firsthand knowledge by Mover; "Erkin", a tenor battle with guest Igor Butman; and the guest spots by guitarist Reg Schwager.
Mover pulls all these elements together to create an honest-to-God jazz album, no fakes need apply. If we could only make the real thing easier to find in the good ol’ USA. Having a president with Miles and Trane on his Ipod is a good start, no?