A native of the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Paul VornHagen has been active for many years on both the East and West Coasts. Honored by the Detroit Music Awards on three occasions, VornHagen has three previous recordings under his belt as a leader. His most recent, SWING AS YOU ARE, presents a varied and agreeable picture of his talents with the many instruments of the saxophone family, in addition to providing a forum for his warm vocals and charming flute work.
Aside from two originals, the majority of the program is made up of standards, some familiar and a few taken from less trodden paths. Frank Loesser’s "Brotherhood of Man" puts on a happy face with Gary Schunk’s organ providing a nice touch. The organ shows up again on a funky line by Weldon Irvine entitled "Mr. Clean." Dexter Gordon’s "Soy Califa" sheds the Blue Note ties by becoming a light Latin number with VornHagen’s flute providing the lead voice. A few numbers feature VornHagen’s vocals, decidedly in the Chet Baker tradition, but rewarding enough in their own way. Actually, the same could be said for his tenor saxophone work (he also gets around the alto, soprano, and baritone horns with a great deal of skill), which while certainly out of the tradition, possesses enough individualistic allure to make for an engaging listen.
The foregoing provides just a few of the highlights from this very solid mainstream release. Surely the jazz folks of Detroit/Ann Arbor know of the great talent they have at large and hopefully in the future VornHagen’s work will reach an even wider audience.