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Lucky to Be Me by Gerard Carelli

Gerard Carelli presents an interesting combination for a jazz performer - he is both an excellent trombonist and an accomplished singer. His new CD, "Lucky To Be Me", provides listeners with a wonderful opportunity to hear both of these skills.

Carelli is a graduate of the University of North Texas, where he played in the legendary 1:00 Lab Band. He also performed in Ray Charles’ touring band, as well as numerous Broadway shows. And he has worked as a sideman with singers Rosemary Clooney and Mel Torme.

The years he spent in the company of these great vocalists no-doubt influenced Carelli’s musical style. His playing and singing are both heavily rooted in swing and traditional jazz. His new CD stays true to the swing sound thanks to the outstanding work of his sidemen, including pianist and arranger John Oddo, trumpeter Randy Sandke, and reedman Dan Block.

Fans of Rosemary Clooney will no doubt recognize John Oddo as her long-time collaborator and the musical director for her recent Concord CD’s. Likewise, swing fans will know seasoned New York trumpeter Randy Sandke as one of the mainstays of the traditional and swing scene. Specializing in the music of past jazz trumpet masters, Sandke has performed with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks and has led a number of outstanding recording dates for Nagel-Hayer records.

For this CD, Carelli has chosen a program of thirteen standards and one original composition, "Well Worth Waiting For", a sentimental tribute to his first born son Marcello, which also includes some nice clarinet work by Dan Block. "Surrey With the Fringe On Top" is performed as an instrumental and features Carelli in an excellent trombone solo. Carelli’s horn is also heard in a relaxed ballad rendition of "How Are Things In Glocca Mora." Also enjoyable is the little heard but very clever Cole Porter tune "Leader of a Big-Time Band," and the group’s version of Irving Berlin’s classic "Always", which Carelli personalizes by singing the seldom-heard verse.

Though Carelli does not possess the rich pipes of Sinatra (but who ever will?) he is a pleasing and swinging jazz singer whose interpretations owe greatly to his understanding and ability to communicate the messages in the lyrics of his songs. Carelli performs regularly with his combo in the New York City area, and if you get the chance I would highly recommend spending an evening swinging and dancing to his enjoyable music. Otherwise, make sure you get this CD.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Gerard Carelli
  • CD Title: Lucky to Be Me
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: GC Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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