Jay Patten has a musician's voice. (Those voices are not only the most musical but also the most interesting.) I'm reminded of the late vocalist/pianist Joe Derise. He is also a Berklee-trained musician, playing alto, tenor and guitar. He's a songwriter. In this CD, his fourth, he utilizes all these talents. And let's give credit to Jeff Steinberg for those crisp charts he created for the swingin' Swing Noir Orchestra. Patten is clearly versatile. He handled vocals and guitar for the Buddy DeFranco version of the Glenn Miller Orchestra which accounts for the fluid presence of the DeFranco clarinet on four tracks. At present he tours with Crystal Gayle as musical director.
There are seven standards here. With one exception, "It's Funny to Everyone But Me,"they're all taken at swing tempo. "I Could Have Danced All Night" cooks the most, propelled by Tom Reynolds' groovy organ.
The Patten songs speak to love (often lost) and advice. The advice is leavened with humor and is a long way from Miss Manners. Give a listen to "Forget About It " or the story/song "Flight from New Jersey"which strongly suggests that's it's not a good idea to swim with sharks of a certain kind. (I hope the story isn't autobiographical - or true! ) The melodies of love include a love song to his saxophone; the title track, a beautiful ballad; and the rowdy "Gang of Angels." " Dance In Your Dreams" combines love with assurance, "it's alright to........." and features Patten on vocals and sax over the string section.
The band is an equal partner on the vocal tracks which make up most of this CD. However they shine on their own on two instrumentals, the Jackie Gleason theme, "Melancholy Serenade" (DeFranco again) and "Somewhere In the Night," the haunting backdrop to "Naked City."
Plenty of noir. Plenty of swing. Enjoy!