Thursday, April 3, 2008

Michael Camacho: Just for You

New Found Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 4.3.08
Buy CD: Just for You

When I say that Michael Camacho isn't well known, I mean it; if you research the name on the Internet, the first individual listed is a real estate agent. 

This particular Michael Camacho is a vocalist, and he reminds me of Chet Baker. The voice isn't robust; Camacho sounds like a Vienna Choir Boy with a jazz mentality. I don't mean that negatively, but the first time you hear him it's almost a shock ... not at all what you'd expect. 

Camacho uses his voice like an instrument, and his phrasing is all jazz. He's backed by an excellent sextet that truly swings. I'm not familiar with any of the players, but they must be upper-class musicians from the New York jazz scene: Tim Regusis on piano; Frances Moutin on bass; Randy Napoleon on guitar; Dan Block on soprano and tenor sax; Darryl Pellegrini and Marcello Pellitere alternating on drums; and Norman Hedman on additional percussion. 

When listening to a vocalist, one generally doesn't pay too much attention to the musicians. That isn't the case here; I found myself looking forward to their background, choruses and solos. 

Camacho wrote five of the 12 tunes on this album. The remainder are covers of some almost forgotten standards — "I'm Old Fashioned," "Skylark" and "This Is Always" — along with several tunes not often vocalized: "Blue Room" and "Spanish Harlem." 

This guy, and his group, grow on you; each replay has impressed me more. I'm awaiting his next CD.

No comments: