If there is a just and fair God in this world (and I believe there is), then something’s gotta be done about the fact that crooners like Spencer Day and Jake Simpson are not as well known as Mike Bubbles, as everyone knows…BUBBLES IS A MAJOR POSER!!! If nothing else, the team of Day and Simpson showed that in this day of canned voices, you are still able get music that can combine Rat Pack hip and 6 Pack muscle, mixing sounds of the past, present and future is shaken, not stirred into an intoxicating cocktail of song.
The swinging 17 piece Budman/Levy Orchestra opened with a swinging overture of “Ode to Abbott” before Jake Simpson wasted no time using his strong tenor voice to snap along to “Fly Me to The Moon” and “Witchcraft” while with his pipes that rivaled a Shelby Cobra, he showed impressive dynamics on an R&B riddled “Nature Boy” while his aria with guitarist Kay-Ta Matsumo on “You Don’t Know What Love Is” was gloriously desultory. Keeping with the intimate mood, he showed delicacy and deft enunciation on a passionate and harrowing take of the Police pop hit “Roxanne” while his next door neighbor charm was pleasantly disarming in a brand new piece “You Can Never Get Too Much Love” before going down to funky town on a Tower of Power pumper “Don’t Change Horses in the Middle of a Stream.” The mix of Archie Andrews charm, 3 range vocals and an irresistible sense of swing make Simpson a force to be dealt with.
Within a nanosecond of Simpson finishing, up jumped Spencer Day, dressed as sharp as the fins on a 61 Caddy, and he cruised like a V8 with the band on the opening “Mystery of You.” His voice and delivery is a mix of Rat Pack, Elvis and James Bond, complete with shark skin suit. What sets Day apart from the rest of today’s vocalists is that he’s got a clever touch with the pen, debuting material from his upcoming album Angel City which included a Memphis swampy “Lost Angeles” as well as a velvety sax section of the B-movie themed title track, which was only missing a cameo from Edmund O’Brien.
Day’s voice is enticing and disarming, reaching low like sorghum on “Blue Christmas” while swaggering with confidence on “Wait Till I Get You Alone.” At the piano, he served up a thoughtful love ballad “72 and Sunny” while evoked mystery and a mood of foreboding on the well crafted “Ghost of Chateau Marmont.”
Just when you thought there was no higher plane to reach, Simpson entered stage left to reunite and deliver a back bending duet take of Robert Palmer’s ”Addicted to Love” before sending off the crowd with a stocking stuffer as the delivered an egg-nog rich “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”