NZOA newmusic single november 18

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Reviewed by Aleisha Ward

Bruce Brown: Nobody’s Foolin’ Around

Reviewed by Aleisha Ward

Bruce Brown: Nobody’s Foolin’ Around

An album of originals in the style of Great American Songbook, and like that musical institution the songs here are quietly subversive. This is the third album by Californian-born, Wellington resident Bruce Brown who pairs a Ratpack-era Dean Martin vocal style with witty, tongue-in-cheek, lyrics. He lulls the listener into a sense of stylistic (1950s lounge jazz) security, but then drops lyrics such as, ‘It’s a good time to be a man now that men are gorgeous too. We can get dolled up when beauty calls, we’re not afraid of shaving our balls,’ from It’s A Good Time (To Be A Man). (Brown’s vocal enunciation is marvellously clear, no need for a lyrics website!) Even when he gets serious the lyrics show a real attention to detail in word choices. Providing elegant accompaniment to Brown’s piano and vocals are a who’s who of local jazz men – Roger Mannins’ sax and flute, Noel Clayton on guitar, Tom Warrington’s bass and John Rae on drums. Of particular note is their work on Let The Demons Run Amok which has some great down and dirty drums paired with feather light saxophone melodic lines. This is an album for anyone who likes music with great humour. It combines fun, and occasionally shocking, lyrics that bring to mind Cole Porter’s work and fantastic jazz musicians.

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