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Record Box

Enjoyable Artistry

Stanley Wilson sings
Cole Porter,
reviewed by

Stanley Wilson    BW101

Stanley Wilson sings Cole Porter. © 2006 Stanley Wilson

Stanley Wilson sings Cole Porter is a collection of seventeen Porter songs arranged by Ben Cook, the piano accompanist on the CD. Tenor Stanley Wilson is also joined by a small ensemble with Jim Gwin on drums, Todd Baker on upright bass; Dave Whitney, trumpet; Lucy Pope, Ann Marie Chubit, and Beth Welty, violin, Frank Grimes, viola, Michael Curry, cello.

My reactions to the songs on this CD varied. In the opening song, It's De-lovely, Wilson sings with enthusiastic expression, and the ensemble lends a lively bounce to the performance without overpowering the vocals. Let's Misbehave had just the right amount of cute, mischeivous feel to fit the song, and Let's Do It had the light humorous touch that the song requires. Easy to Love had a serious earnestness, making it a touching love song [listen -- track 4, 0:59-2:00]

At times the interpretations were too easy going for me and did not express all of the qualities I am used to hearing in a Cole Porter song. This version of All of You, for example, struck me as too cute or coy. I thought I've Got You Under My Skin could have been more expressive in certain sections. Likewise, All Through the Night sounded too restrained for me. In the Still of the Night makes up for this, however, with its longing insistence, which both Wilson and instrumentalists express in a beautifully balanced performance.

Agua Sincopada is a piano solo interlude, in glorious Spanish habanera-style [listen -- track 7, 2:10-3:14]. Its opening alternates between melodic development and a chordal response. Riding High follows, with jostling liveliness. Nuit et Jour is the French version of my favorite Cole Porter song, Night and Day. It starts slowly and mysteriously, but lightly, without the drum beats that sometimes accompanies the mention of the 'tam-tams' in the lyrics. It is beautifully done with a sensitive piano accompaniment. It is not the smoky, seductive version I am used to, but it has its own enjoyable artistry.

I Concentrate on You had the right blend of light swing and expressive vocals to make it a delightful number. So In Love captures a solemn side to the album, with a mournful love-dirge. I thought this was one of the most moving songs in the album [listen -- track 13, 1:10-2:27]. Don't Fence Me In is a light Western style song with a smooth performance that maybe could have used a few more bumps in the ride to add to its intensity. What is this Funny Thing Called Love is a sullen lost-love song. Begin the Beguine is more lively with a convincing upbeat mood. The CD ends with Blow, Gabriel, Blow!, a jazzy tune featuring the trumpet.

Copyright © 22 September 2007 Anna L Franco, New York City, USA


Stanley Wilson sings Cole Porter

BW101 Stereo FIRST RELEASE 59'05" 2006 Stanley Wilson

Stanley Wilson, vocals; Ben Cook, piano; Jim Gwin, drums; Todd Baker, upright bass; Dave Whitney, trumpet; Lucy Pope, Ann Marie Chubit, Beth Welty, violin; Frank Grimes, viola; Michael Curry, cello

Cole Albert Porter (1891-1964) arranged by Ben Cook: It's De-lovely; All Of You; Let's Misbehave; Easy to Love; I've Got You Under My Skin; In The Still Of The Night; Agua Sincopada; Ridin' High; All Through The Night; Let's Do It; Nuit et Jour; I Concentrate On You; So In Love; Don't Fence Me In; What Is This Thing Called Love?; Begin The Beguine; Blow, Gabriel, Blow!


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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews