Jim Ferguson – Deep Summer Music (2000)
SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 65:29 minutes | Covers included | 2,63 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Covers included | 1,21 GB
Bassist Jim Ferguson does something on Deep Summer Music and his 1999 debut, Not Just Another Pretty Bass, that few on his instrument can muster. And it’s so simple, so dynamic. He sings. Well, he not only sings, but he offers up a pliable voice that can wrap around a lyric like a hug (try the lovely title tune here), and then morph into a playful, sardonic, jab-rich vehicle that shows off how much style he has. With Chris Potter by his side again on Summer, Ferguson shows clearly that he’s no singer handling a bass. He plays his big axe with all the same flexibility, using a singing note-hold that bends around the melodies sweetly, and then a thumping rhythmic bounce that accentuates how groovy a cat Ferguson is. “What’s A Guy Supposed to Do?” sounds as humorously exasperated as Mose Allison. The comparison to Mose is apt, for Ferguson has that same slight drawl and crisp funkiness. And he has a vocal range that can bellow near a baritone and still have some grit at the bottom to keep things textured smartly. A most important follow-up to Ferguson’s auspicious debut.
Regrettably, male vocalists have become a minority in the jazz world. For every talented male jazz singer who emerged in the 1980s or 1990s (Kurt Elling, Kevin Mahogany, Lou Lanza, Giacomo Gates, Allan Harris, among others), there were countless female singers. So whenever a male jazz vocalist records a CD, one tends to sit up and take notice. Jim Ferguson’s Deep Summer Music should please those who complain that jazz doesn’t have enough male singers anymore. Much to his credit, the Nashville resident is a clone of no one. Ferguson is no innovator, but he is a recognizable singer who can be sweetly introspective one minute and bluesy the next. On funky, bluesy selections like “What’s a Guy Supposed to Do?” and “Walkin’ the Dog” (both Ferguson originals), he hints at Mose Allison without actually emulating him. But most of the time, Ferguson favors vulnerable, introspective torch singing; Chet Baker and Mel Tormé are noticeable influences on “The Night We Called It a Day,” “There’ll Be Other Times,” and other smoky ballads. Not that he actually tries to sound like Baker, Tormé, or anyone else – again, Ferguson is his own man. Joined by Chris Potter on tenor sax, Stefan Karlsson on piano, and Jim White on drums, Ferguson accompanies himself on upright bass – something that is unusual for a jazz singer. And the southerner is also unusual in that he has paid the bills by accompanying a major country-pop star: Crystal Gayle. Some myopic, knee-jerk bop snobs might have a hard time believing that a man who plays country-pop can also embrace jazz, but such thinking is nothing more than silly, mindless elitism. If anything, backing Gayle has made Ferguson a more effective jazz improviser because it has forced him to spend a lot of time focusing on feeling and emotion instead of always worrying about technique. While other jazz singers are trying to impress you with how fast they can scat their way through John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” Ferguson makes feeling his top priority on this soulful, if derivative, release.
01. Deep Summer Music
02. What’s A Guy Supposed To Do?
03. I’ll Only Miss Her When I Think Of Her
04. Wait Till You See Her
05. There’ll Be Other Times
06. Walkin’ The Dog
07. Slow Hot Wind
08. The Night We Called It A Day
09. Come Home To Red
10. Then I’ll Be Tired Of You
11. When The Night Is Done
12. Nobody Home
13. When Your Lover Has Gone
14. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning