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While Im Here by Chris Whiteley

Chris Whiteley's most recent solo effort, while I'm here, is relaxing, upbeat, funny, sad .... and beautiful to hear. The first song on this very admirable musical achievement, is the sad, beautiful and nostalgic "The Week That Ernie Died". It's a sincere, heartfelt dedication to Whiteley's friend, (and Canada's own children's TV show host favorite), Mr. Dressup -- known to his many adult friends as Ernie Coombs. The fond reminiscences Whiteley shares with us in this song are sentiments many in Canada and elsewhere also feel about Mr. Dressup. Whiteley's muted-trumpet ending sums things up nicely.

"Jeanette" features some pleasing, romantic musical reminiscences. Whiteley's trumpet solo along with John Sheard's piano solo adds real class to this tune. The background horns give it a full sound. "I've Got the World On a String" is an upbeat swingin' Harold Arlen composition. Its airy qualities are a perfect mood enhancer. John Deehan's sax solo is superb. Sheard's tinkling on the ivories adds to the happy mood, as does Whiteley's upbeat trumpet solo.

"You Left Me Nothin' But the Blues", shows off Whiteley's bluesy side nicely. His vocals echo the sentiments of lost love and bad times in romance. Added to this is Whiteley's deeply emotional harmonica solo. "Warm Summer Rain" is an upbeat, jazzy fun tune. Love's in the air in this one, with Whiteley singin' about it in the warm summer rain. Deehan's uplifting tenor sax solo goes well with Sheard's lilting piano riffs. Victor Bateman's upright bass accompaniment hits the mark with every pulsating beat. "For a Long, Long Time" hearkens back to the sentimental ballads of days gone by. Whiteley's long, harmonica solo intro to this winner, is very enjoyable to hear. Mark Mariash's talent on the drums is outstanding, as are Sheard's piano riffs. They seem to sing in perfect unison with Whiteley's storytelling vocals.

"Lost in a Fog" features some haunting muted-trumpet by Whiteley, along with Sheard's fine jazz piano soloing. Deehan's rousing tenor sax riffs stand out well on this one. "On the Green" starts of with a Big Band horn sound, echoing friends parading happily to the golf course. It features more superb Whiteley trumpet soloing, followed by Deehan's sax soloing excellence and Sheard's keys creativity. Bateman's bass solo is mouthwatering to hear. "Some Musician Was to Blame" is a funny, tongue-in-cheek jazzy blues poke at Nero; Mona Lisa; David & Goliath and other ancient and historical figures. Whiteley's exuberant harp solo on this tune is extremely inventive. He's complemented well in this tune, by Deehan's sax solo and Sheard's keys solo.

"When I'll Get Over You" is the ultimate upbeat love song. Whiteley's charming vocals tell the love of his life that his love for her will leave when "Santa Claus is 90 pounds", "When the birds stop singin' in the trees" .. "Honey .. that's when I'll get over you!" This romantic tune says it all to anyone who's in love, and intends to stay that way. The upbeat instrumentals along with Whiteley's vocals and incredible trumpet solo tell it all right-from-the-heart!

"When I'm Gone" is a saddening and reflective Phil Ochs tune. Whiteley's flugel horn solo speaks volumes in interpreting the mood. The premise is that we should do what we can that's important to us while we're here, that we know we won't be able to do when we're gone -- In other words, a life with less regrets. Not a happy song but it makes a point, and is performed well, with a sensitive touch.

The final and very fine tune on this fantastic CD is the great Duke Ellington's immortal "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me". It begins with Whiteley's superb trumpet solo intro - then Deehan's sax solo answers back. "Do Nothin' .. " is upbeat, funny, beautifully arranged and sung with finesse, style and real class by Whiteley. More foot tapping Whiteley trumpet soloing and Deehan sax soloing is just what the jazz doctor ordered.

Chris Whiteley is a national music treasure here in Canada, as is this, his third solo offering, while I'm here.
Artist: Chris Whiteley
CD: while I'm here
Label: Independent # HTA14074
Year: 2003
Web site: Chris Whiteley
(owned by Grit Laskin)

I feel I should mention that Chris Whiteley has recently signed with Andrew Galloway's Electro-Fi label in Canada, and is scheduled to release his debut CD on Electro-Fi, entitled It's The Natural Thing To Do at Hugh's Room, 2261 Dundas St. West, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada's west end on Sat. March 19, 2005. For ticket reservations please phone: 416-531-6604. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door. Hugh''s premium showcase for live Folk/Roots music.)

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Chris Whiteley
  • CD Title: While Im Here
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Musicians: Chris Whiteley (trumpet, muted trumpet, flugel horn, harmonica), John Deehan (tenor sax), John Sheard (keyboards), Victor Baterman (upright bass), Mark Mariash (drums).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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