Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., Feb. 15, 2008
Rich HarneyWhere Love Begins (Aardvark)
No stranger to the local scene, Rich Harney's swinging, soulful style has made him a most in-demand jazz pianist for more than two decades, playing with everyone in town from Tina Marsh to Redd Volkaert. Harney's instrumental prowess takes a back seat here as he slows the tempo and lends his vocal chops to this set of familiar standards. While not a powerful singer in the traditional sense, his sensitive voice is reminiscent of Chet Baker's disarming timbre and suggests a distinctive intimacy that makes "You Go to My Head" and "Come Rain or Come Shine" feel like a cozy late-night set in your favorite jazz haunt. Close musical compadres trumpeter Ephraim Owens and reedman Alex Coke help seal the deal. Owens' mute on "You Don't Know What Love Is" is particularly effective while Coke blows satiny smooth on the opener, "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Girl." Throw another log on the fire, and cuddle up.