FAME Review: Danny Freyer - Must be Love
Danny Freyer - Must be Love

Must be Love

Danny Freyer

Bluebend Records - BB14-01

Available from Danny Freyer's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Danny Freyer's Must be Love could not have started more perfectly than in the Gordon / Revel Goodnight My Love. The moment the song opens up, you think "Man, I haven't heard something like THAT in years!"…and not just for Freyer's letter perfect recitation but also the unbelievably heavenly backing choir (Danielle DeAndrea simul-synching herself in Tinkerbelle-next-door fashion) and muted trumpet. Just…absolutely…perfect. Had it run in a movie, people would be clamoring for the CD at this very moment. It's that damn good. Sure, it's in Ozzie & Harriet Pleasantville oeuvre, but that's half it's charm, that hidden American Dream romanticism each and every one of us aches for, though we know it'll never be achieved (especially not nowadays and maybe never again). Whoever it was who understood that the cut needed to be the first in the lineup was really thinking on his feet.

After that comes the highly Sinatra-esque hipjive-swingin' Bop Goes My Heart, a track that, if Sammy Davis didn't cover it, he shoulda. I'm not a big fan of Sinatra (I know, I know: heresy!!), but when cats like Freyer take the pose, I understand why others are nuts about the guy. Too much sprechestimme in Frankie for my liking, so Freyer cuts across the line much more melodically, retaining the talk-speak base while actually singing. It's also in this song that pianist Matt Politano reveals why he's so crucial to the CD: not only are his lead lines uncluttered and dazzling but the chords employed in comping never step on Freyer's feet, never mar his encantations. The guy almost becomes the entire rhythm section…except that producer Evan Stone's drum work has to be there, the true-est bop segment of the ensemble. Without him, much would go missing.

Ya know, now that I think about it, what bugs me about Sinatra was that bourgeois fake cool he affected, subtly underwritten by a very authoritarian personality (the Mafia tends to invoke that sorta thing). I always dug Tormé much much more 'cause he erased the altitude. We knew Mel was great but was also one of us, talented as hell but not some hoity-toit born or inducted into privilege. I get the same from Freyer, the kinda guy you ran around with in high school but knew was destined for better things. Every song here is friendly, especially Promise Me You'll Remember, the sort of music you want to keep close.

The CD's a compendium of standards except for two songs he wrote and one he interpolated into Charlie Parker's Yardbird Suite. Those cuts demonstrate ever more his ground level drive. I mean, when you title your own work Let's Make Babies, Baby; Must be Love or Else I'm Drunk; and Tanked as a Fish, Buzzed Bombed and Blitzed, you're not exactly petitioning for membership in The TriLateral Commission or the Bilderbergers, are you?, certainly not with such unhedging but well modulated carnality. And Freyer's ability to blend modern patois so well into his 50s wont is seamless, clever on more than one level. If there's any justice in the world, quite a few modern ensembles will be grabbing his tunes like lifesavers in a sea of apologetic soft soap, soon turning them into standards.

Track List:

  • Goodnight My Love (Gordon / Revel)
  • Bop Goes My Heart (Bishop / Styne)
  • That Old Black Magic (Arlen / Mercer)
  • Yardbird Suite / Let's Make Babies Baby (Charlie Parker / Danny Freyer)
  • Lean Baby (May / Alfred)
  • Promise Me You'll Remember (Coppola / Betts)
  • Must Be Love or Else I'm Drunk (Danny Freyer)
  • Tanked as a Fish, Buzzed Bombed and Blitzed (Danny Freyer)
  • Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter)
  • Stardust (Carmichael / Parish)
  • BONUS TRACK: Goodnight My Love (alternate version) (Gordon / Revel)

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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