Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy When I'm With You by Gordon Webster

For this month's review, we're staying in Manhattan. For those of you who aren’t NYC regulars or who haven’t heard Gordon Webster since Blues Till Dawn (or his Philly Lindy Love marathon late nights), his second CD release "Happy When I’m With You" is going to knock your socks off. For those of you who are, it's the Gordon "and Friends" you know and love captured live in your very own CD player!

Sure Gordon’s still grooving the piano like the dickens on numbers like “Uptown Sop” and his supporting musicians, like Rob Adkins on bass and Adrian Cunningham on sax and clarinet, are first rate and swinging equally hard. Also, Brianna Thomas is here on vocals, capturing much of the playful energy she packs into live performances on numbers like “All Right, Okay, You Win”, “All of Me”, and particularly “Summertime”, where her vocals and Gordon’s piano work dance together nicely (also listen as Jesse turns in some great muted trumpet work on that track). “September in the Rain”, “Sweet Lorraine”, and “Sometimes I’m happy” are also solid tracks with Brianna on vocals and which have a comfortable, laid back feel.

However, for me, the best work on the album are Gordon’s collaborations with trumpeter/vocalist Jesse Selengut. These 4 numbers brings out a whole new range of piano that those who aren’t familiar with Gordon’s recent work, won’t be aware of. The energetic version of “24 Robbers” packed the dance floor in Richmond with energy last weekend and “Long John” (now available free for a limited time at the link below) and “Bill Bailey” are equally packed with wonderful hard swinging performances by his all star side men. I particularly enjoyed the interplay of Jesse on vocals and Matt on trombone in “I'm Confessin That I Love You”.

There’s truly not a weak cut on this release, which, given the wide range of material, is a testament to Gordon’s abilities as a top notch band leader, above and beyond his great piano work. "Happy When I’m With You" is an appropriate title for this release because it’ll leave you tapping your foot and feeling just that way yourself.

The CD is available for purchase online at:


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