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Bob Dorough - The Devil's Best Tunes : The Beatnik Scat of Bob Dorough

Bob Dorough - The Devil's Best Tunes : The Beatnik Scat of Bob Dorough

by , 02 December 2011

Bob Dorough, ah, he's a bit of a legend. Possibly ingrained in the collective memories of everyone who was a fan of Schoolhouse Rock (and it's magnificent and catchy soundtrack), the man introduced jazz to a lot of impressionable young ones (including myself). So the release of The Devil's Best Tunes : The Beatnik Scat of Bob Dorough is like catching up with an old friend and finding out that you might have drifted apart, but you still cherish those moments as kids when you repaired knackered G.I. Joe's (tip: use a small rubber band) and ran away from the neighbourhood bullies (replaced by dick workmates).

You can't help but smile and feel like bobbing your head (maybe sip a martini?) with this album. 'Old Devil Moon' has that staple of jazz: a very playful (and technically wonderful) bass. It's a great way to open the shop, continuing the tradition with tracks like 'Dog' and the classy 'Devil May Care'.

The only possible problem some might have with the album is the vocal delivery: if scat singing isn't your cup of tea, do stay away, the title of the album really spells it out for you. I personally find it a classic ingredient of jazz, working just right when put face to face with a saxophone pretty much playing duelling banjos with the voice. It's a bit of “pistols at dawn!” thing in the grimy alleys of 52nd street ('Ow'), a romantic evening in the late 50s ('It could happen to you') or a sunny afternoon in a modern day café in Coyoacán, Mexico City ('Daybreak in Alabama').

'I hear a rhapsody' is one of the best songs in the album. The vocals go for a coffee break (like a boss) and we are treated to a flute carrying the whole tune while the rest of the instruments flutter around like relaxed hummingbirds ready to break loose when the signal is given (which is in 'Notes to you', that frantically paced track near the end).

The Devil's Best Tunes... is a very enjoyable, peppy selection of jazz tunes that will have you reaching for a couple of Hurricanes, donning a Fedora and perhaps solve a few mysteries, like why The Clangers put up with the Soup Dragon instead of starting their own jazz band (four flute attack!).

Rating: 7/10

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