Gary Tanin, the veteran producer who's worked with everyone from the Violent Femmes' Victor DeLorenzo to Genesis' Daryl Stuermer, produced this (mostly) instrumental album of jazz standards from the legendary guitarist Dick Eliot and calls I'll Remember April "a highlight of my career." What makes this short but sweet disc so special?
Well, first there's Eliot's pedigree. He worked the glory years in Las Vegas, performing with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Barbara Streisand and Sammy Davis Jr. Eliot is a purist, and you can hear it in the way he plays these 13 timeless pieces by George and Ira Gershwin ("Strike Up the Band," "S'Wonderful"), Cole Porter ("You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To") and Sonny Rollins ("St. Thomas"). If you close your eyes, you can imagine yourself in a smoky Vegas lounge, lightly bouncing and swinging in your seat as Eliot's melodic playing and fluid fingers take over.
Another reason I'll Remember April is special: The album opens with a voice message from the late, great jazz guitarist Johnny Smith, who wrote a paragraph for the liner notes before his death in 2013. It's the sound of an aging man verbally patting his buddy on the back and showing old-school respect, and it'll bring a smile to your face.
Officially recorded by "Guitarist Dick Eliot and Friends," I'll Remember April won't appeal to every Sea of Tranquility reader, but it's significant enough — and historically relevant — that it deserves a spot on our esteemed site.
And for another thrill, check out the photo gallery on Eliot's website. You'll find some classic images that will help you respect the man's playing even more.
1) A Message from Johnny Smith
2) St. Thomas
3) I'll Remember April
4) Time After Time
5) Who Can I Turn To
6) Strike Up the Band
9) Slow Boat to China
10) One Note Samba
11) What Kind of Fool Am I
12) The Very Thought of You
13) You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
14) That's All