The Royal Bopsters – Party of Four (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 58:35 minutes | 729 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Motema
If you’re allergic to vocalese, stop. Sorry about that, but you’ve arrived at the wrong review. On the other hand, if you’re a vocalese virgin eager to lose your innocence, vocalese is the arcane art of grafting a verbal story onto a specific solo by a jazz musician (think of Eddie Jefferson’s Moody’s Mood For Love, “There I go, there I go…” based on James Moody’s alto solo on I’m In The Mood For Love). Creating appropriate vocalese lyrics moves well beyond scat and is about as easy as juggling spiny cacti while walking a tightrope blindfolded. And backwards. Jon Hendricks was the consummate master. Annie Ross was certainly no slouch (‘Twisted’ was written overnight to fit a Wardell Gray solo). And Georgie Fame has shown a lot of talent too. If you think that writing vocalese is hard, performing it requires extraordinarily gymnastic vocal skills and range.
Party Of Four by The Royal Bopsters has four (sadly, now three. Alto Holli Ross, to whom the album is dedicated, died this year) voices projecting vocalese in the tight, intricate harmony style pioneered by combinations like the Mills Brothers, Meltones, Hi-Lo’s, Double Six and Four Freshmen. The album is dramatic, multi-layered and full of intimate, shifting, four-part harmonies drawing eclectic inspiration from (and paying due homage to) many masters of the jazz tradition. Example: on the opening track not only does the group execute a neat routine on George and Ira Gershwin’s But Not For Me, but Holli Ross also inserts a solo chorus based on a Chet Baker 1979 scat vocal.
01. The Royal Bopsters – But Not for Me
02. The Royal Bopsters – On a Misty Night/Gipsy
03. The Royal Bopsters – How I Love You (Let Me Count the Reasons)
04. The Royal Bopsters – Lucky to Be Me
05. The Royal Bopsters – Why’d You Do Me the Way You Did?
06. The Royal Bopsters – Day Dream
07. The Royal Bopsters – Cuando Te Vea (When I See You)
08. The Royal Bopsters – Baby, You Should Know It
09. The Royal Bopsters – Our Spring Song
10. The Royal Bopsters – Rusty Dusty Blues
11. The Royal Bopsters – Infant Eyes
12. The Royal Bopsters – My Shining Hour