Gloria Reuben teams up with Jay Ashby/tb, Marty Ashby/g, Alton Merrill/key, Tony DePaolis/b, Thomas Wendt/dr and George Jones/perc for some breathy and easy listening tunes. Her voice has a hint of Cheryl Bentyne, as she reflects on “Poor Girl” and confesses on “When I Close My Eyes.” She has a hold back sense to her emotions as she teams with Jay Ashby on the latin “Close Enough For Love” and they slink together on “Sharing The Night With The Blues.” Her Tin Pan Alley chops sound bona fide on ‘You Better Love Me” and she sounds poppish with the piano trio on “Save Your Love For Me.” Coy.
Baritoned Peter Oprisko teams up with Sean Baker’s Orchestra for a night in Vegas-sounding collection of songs that almost all have the word “kiss” in the title, or at least have lyrics about it. I assume “That’s All” closes the album as a “kiss-off,” but that’s another story. There’s an Avengerish read of “Besame Mucho” while strings and Kyle Asche’s guitar do wonders with the mellow soulser on the dreamy “In the Middle of a Kiss.” He creates a thick molasses of sounds with tenor saxist Brian Butts on a vibey “Everyobody Loves Somebody” and is sweet as apple cider with pianist Baker on “One Tender Kiss.” A lounge lizard delight.
Michael Dees ups the ante here as he not only sings but writes the songs here. He teams up with a simpatico rhythm team of Terry Trotter/p, Chuck Berghofer/b and Steve Schaeffer/dr along with guest saxes, trumpets and percussion. He’s able to deliver vocal clarity and style on high energy tunes such as “A Long Time Comin’” as well as a clever “So Crazy For You” that includes an excitedly outside tenor solo by Chuck Manning. He sways with the blues on”Back In New Orleans with Bob Sheppard’s clarinet but is also able to sound intimate in a trio setting on “I Miss You” and gets shadowy on “Where Love Goes.” He sounds street wise on the soulful bopper “Am I Supposed to Care?” along with Steve Huffsteter’s trumpet and goes gloriously despairing on “Look At Me.” This guy sounds like he means it!
Jazzed Media Records