Should you have been worrying, concerned the days of Mancini, Riddle, Schifrin, and other great arrangers were perhaps slipping by, never to be seen and heard again, wellllllllll, you, my friend, need to hear this CD, 'cause Jeremy Fox not only crosses all the T's and dots all the I's, but also underscores the ground they stand on while wrapping the skies and fields around them in vivid colors. His work is consummate, and it probably won't surprise you when I reveal that he holds degrees in jazz studies, and is a full-time instructor in ALL Phases of music-making, including studio engineering and production, which explains the immaculate nature of With Love. Not only that, but he holds vocal boot camps, workshops, and clinics, then guest conducts, and has won an amazing 10 awards from DownBeat magazine. What next? Exogenic terrafirming and intergalactic exploration? The guy's a one-man army!
But if attention to detail and the entire ambit of this difficult trade mark the professional, then Fox is among the ne plus ultra, evident from the very first cut, a sparkling recital of the Brown / Fain gem That Old Feeling sung by Kate Reid. Not only do the charts push the utmost out of her, but the clear and clean lushness of the instrumentation is remarkable, not merely for the performances but just as much in a marvelously precise use of contrast, from exuberant horns to understated ornamentation and attenuation of main theme. And Fox uses suspensions like nobody's business, masterful and then some. Then there are the shifts in time signatures: neoclassicalists could take lessons from the deceptively smooth songs, and Jeremy's emphatics will stop your heart while silky suasions melt everything else into a raptured puddle.
Yet the end product is always of a piece, whether in a bouncy lark song or the adagistic classic Dindi, here encanted by the ethereal Rose Max amid a field of strings swirling about her floating presence, the musical version of a lovingly long look, an embrace, and finally angel kisses. But what about the flip side? The more naked aspect of eros? That's covered too in the sass of Girl Talk, Wendy Pederson tearing it down before building everything back up again, singer and ensemble slinky and velvetine, on fire as the song closes. Care to get an education in the exceedingly crucial art of arrangement, dear reader? You needn't attend Fox's classes, heck no!, just buy this CD. But then you'll also need to possess unbelievable discretion and a set of ultra-refined aesthetics as well. Did anyone tell ya that part too? Well, that's why Fox has won award after award and attracted artist after artist, and you and I haven't. All we get to do is sit back and dig the hell out of what he does…and, in case I didn't make it evident, it's all Great American Songbook.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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