Dave Nathan's review for ALL MUSIC GUIDE of HERE I AM, the
Ronnie Wells/Ron Elliston CD introducing 15 Ed Greenebaum songs
It's one thing to cut a CD devoted entirely to the music of a George
Gershwin, Harold Arlen, or a Johnny Mercer. It's entirely a different
musical matter, and a bit risky, to do an album committed completely
to the songs of someone called Ed Greenebaum. But, as it turns out, the
risk was worth taking. Mr. Greenebaum (like Irving Berlin) takes on the
daunting task of penning both words and music.The results show that he has
absorbed the styles, and some of the quirks, of the great contributors to the
Great American Songbook. There's the ironic and biting phrasing of a (Cole
Porter) in (Who Writes All Those Love Songs) and bits of Henry Mancini's
style in (She's Not Right For You), the bright optimistic (I Love To Be With
You) brings to mind the works of Harold Arlen. This "Ed Greenebaum Songbook"
is a good balance between ballads and medium and up tempo songs. (Every Time
I See You), (I Hate It When You're Right), (Is That Bossa Nova?) are upbeat.
(We're Through) and (The Quiet Side) embrace Greenebaum's medium tempo and
ballad moods. The composer's work is performed by the gifted Washington, DC
husband and wife team of vocalist (Ronnie Wells) and pianist (Ron Elliston).
This duo is ably abetted by a very talented group of musicians. Tenor man
(Bruce Swaim) solos on most of the cuts, taking advantage of Greenebaum's
chord structures for heady improvising. (Steve Abshire's) guitar has long
been a part of the Wells/Elliston team. But it's left to Wells to musically
promote Greenebaum's tunes. And the choice couldn't have been better. Ms.
Wells is an innovative and effortless lyric interpreter. With a deep and
somewhat reminiscent of Carmen McRae, she handles this unfamiliar music with
ease and aplomb. Along with Swaim's tenor and husband Ron Elliston's
Evans-like piano, she performs a great service to the jazz community and
listener alike, by bringing attention to the words and
music of Ed Greenebaum. With jazz singers constantly searching for new
material, Mr. Greenebaum may be a fruitful new source. This is a very enjoyable
musical undertaking and recommended.