His rich baritone voice, accurate musical ear and comfortable seamless phrasing make Giacomo Gates a singer with appeal, and his personal interpretation of lyrics gives his audience a convincing lesson. But there's a special twist to this performance. Gates has been bitten by the hipster bug. His passion for the vocalese of King Pleasure, Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks is woven through each track.
His policy does not take Gates a step back in time. Instead, he and his ensemble have put a fresh face on this traditional theme. Senior citizens, baby boomers, Generation X-ersˇand whatever new label is now being appliedˇare all able to appreciate this traditional art in its new package. The lyric's message rolls off his tongue eloquently. Then Gates plunges into scat singing and vocalese. He'll imitate a trombone or a flute. Included in the session are vocalese interpretations of Illinois Jacquet's solo on "All of Me" and James Moody's solo on "Lester Leaps In."
Piano, bass and drums provide the singer with all he needs. Ray Drummond's comping and solos stand out for their unique swingability and smooth sheen. With such a versatile singer, they need only to perform naturally and Gates does the rest. Alto saxophone and guitar, while not needed for this program, serve to augment the timbral mix. Vic Juris infuses a credible blues hue into both the title track and "Hittin' the Jug."