If you are a New Yorker, you’ll probably remember Mo Morgen better as Mike Morgenstern from the Jazzmania Loft where he performed for many years. Through the nineties, he performed with his band in Miami’s MoJazz Café. Although he is known primarily as a leader, Mo has appeared as a soloist with many outfits including a jazz festival gig with the Jimmy Smith Quartet. Morgen is most capable tenor player and this CD features his vocal talents as well as his instrumental virtuosity.
The "Singin’ Saxy" album swings nicely from start to finish. The quartet offers eleven well chosen jazz standards including In a Sentimental Mood, Ghost of a Chance, The Thrill is Gone and I Didn’t Know What Time It Was. There are no overdubs on this CD. As a vocal chorus ends, Mo takes a breath and steps back in with a tasteful sax solo. His vocals are reminiscent of Frank Sinatra’s "Swing Easy" era of 1951 to 1955 and he even scats a little on "I Thought About You".
The group includes other major talents. Brian Murphy has performed with Sweets Edison, Wynton Marsalis and Canada’s "Boss Brass" directed by Rob McConnell who hires only the best. Bassist, Dennis Marks is a standout player on this session and has performed with Flip Phillips, Pat Metheny and Duffy Jackson. Drummer, John Yarling has been spreading the word via both jazz and blues bands in Florida and has recorded with Jaki Byard, Curtis Fuller, Pepper Adams and Joe Williams.
"Singin’ Saxy" is a fine album and should please everyone. Mo includes a couple of instrumental tunes where all the players have a chance to stretch out. Brian Murphy gets an opportunity to show his talents on the Hammond B-3 as well as piano.
All things said and done, this CD is well worth your attention.