Giacomo Gates, jazz troubadour, worldly wise and grand master of scat and Vocalese, is one of the jazz world's finest living exemplars of true grit.
At best, the male jazz vocalist is an endangered species, particularly now when the terrific female singers dominate the slim marketplace for jazz.
As shown by the dozen bright tracks on this disc, nothing... not even the gross injustice of never getting his dueÖ can dim the exuberance, skill and humor that illuminate a Gates performance.
Always upbeat and on the beat, he swings lyrics in the ebullient manner of the legendary Eddie Jefferson.
A bopster/hipster hybrid of Jack Kerouac and Jon Hendricks, Gates not only pays homage to classic solos by such saxophonists as Lester Young ("Lester Leaps Inn"), but also displays his lyrical balladeer side on Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird."
A one-man band, the perpetually touring Connecticut native whistles with flute-like clarity on "Summertime" and sounds like a trombone on "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To." Unlike many scat singers, he doesn't beat you to death with flashy vocal pyrotechnics that are all manner and no matter.
Gates' backup talent looms luminously, particularly pianist Harold Danko. Bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Greg Bandy round out the tasty rhythm section. Zesty cameo appearances by alto saxophonist Vincent Herring and guitarist Vic Juris add an extra dash of zing to the sparkling session.