I gotta confess that as soon as I noticed someone was FINALLY covering Vangelis' One More Kiss, Dear from the Bladerunner film, a ditty so unlike Vangelis' catalogue but so damn perfect as a killer retro song contrasting that futuristic sc-fi thriller's atmospherics, I walked straight to the CD player and put it on. In the film, Don Percival sang the song in such righteous near-counter-tenor tones loaded with our fathers' and grandfathers' kitsch sensibilities that the piece became a cross-colliding venue of baffling endearment (Brazil reprised the tactic just as strikingly). How, I wondered, would Jason Paul Curtis handle it?
Well, he dragged it back out of those cinematically Weimar-esque Syd Mead bars and onto the crooner-torchy stage it was so obviously meant to inhabit beneath the neon, tinsel, and replicants. More, there's a pastoral chamber quality lurking at the border, brought out in the middle eight via Dave Schiff's flute. Ah, but then, just before Kiss we find one of the Godfather anthems, Speak Softly, Love, and Curtis bopifies that one, surprisingly, irresistibly, in his trademark ultra-smooth vocal style. The last time we heard from Mr. Curtis was two years ago with Lovers Holiday (here), a winter/Christmas gig, and this new disc is the obverse, a celebration of summer days and ways. And, as before, Curtis proves he's a hell of a writer. Eight of the ten cuts are solely his, and they swing like crazy.
This time out, I'm hearing a lot more Kenny Rankin, Randy Crawford, Mel Torme, Robert Kraft, Michael Tomlinson, and a Sinatra even Frankie couldn't do, everything polished to a fare-thee-well, sparkling in a beautiful engineering job, all elements perfectly balanced. There are a lot of joys present but also some heartaches, bittersweetness, and a few contemplations. Longest Day is the slowest most romantic track, but my favorite is Pane e Vino. In the 70s, this would've been on the charts and climbing. Nowadays I'm not so sure. I mean, waddya hafta do? Bring Madonna in naked singing Gregorian chant? Beats me. But in that same Hollywood vein, the real secret is that this guy should be making songs for way hip movies. I'm so damn tired of Elton John clunkers reflecting long dead syrupy anthemics, paeans that make even Walt Disney gag in his grave. Curtis is fresh, vibrant, cooler than cool, and irresistible, in more ways than one the successor to Paul Anka, Andy Williams, and the gents who used to make audiences swoon. Now they can do the same but snap their fingers and be-bop too.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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