This album has been assembled with loving care. On one level it may be a collection of standards, but these have been so astutely chosen, arranged and programmed that they become a cohesive aural journey; one that places Dan Barnett’s skills as a singer and trombonist in very different spotlights, and does the same for his 15 collaborators, including fellow singer Tricia Evy.
Unsurprisingly the same slippery feel for super-relaxed phrasing infuses both Barnett’s playing and singing. This gives the album an after-hours coolness – and a strong whiff of late 1950s cigarette smoke. His singing veers between Sinatra-esque cruising and something closer to Kurt Elling-adventurousness, with the mid-ground between those extremes being a patch that Barnett has made all his own. Perhaps his most compelling vocal performance comes on the one song he co-penned himself: the moody Good Times Bad Times. Meanwhile the full, ripe glory of his trombone tone can be relished on pieces like I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.
A key collaborator on this project is Kelly Ottaway, who arranged five of the pieces (including a charming I’m Old Fashioned) and whose vibraphone ensures horn-heavy excitement is an option rather than the default position. Among the other soloists David Theak offers bruising tenor on I Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing and drummer Andrew Dickeson tears up Andrew Robertson’s sizzling arrangement of Tin Tin Deo. Evy’s singing, slinky and lighter-than-air by turns, shines on They Can’t Take That Away From Me.