If I Could Dance like Fred Astaire: CD
  • If I Could Dance like Fred Astaire: CD
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan
It seems that Fred Astaire as a dancer is as compelling to singers as he is to other hoofers. Certainly Mel Tormé found him an inspiration for one of his most popular albums, his 1956 Mel Tormé Sings Fred Astaire. Now comes New England vocalist Jim Porcella dressed in white tie, top hat, and tails swirling a cane and cavorting as if he were Astaire. But there the similarity between the Tormé and Porcella tributes stops. Tormé actually sang songs associated with Astaire; Porcella was apparently just expressing a lifelong fantasy with the title of his album. His play list is decidedly the songs that Astaire neither sang nor danced to. Rather, this is a set of what might be called Tin Pan Alley tunes (plus a Porcella original or two) done with a musical variety show bounce, such as a medium-tempo "Sometimes I'm Happy" and "Honeysuckle Rose." Joining Porcella in this nod to these tunes is the Ron Zack Trio, an above-average rhythm section led by Zack's rather expressive piano. Zack certainly understands his role as the principal accompanist, as he places a nice pad under the singer, playing nice round notes, not attention-diverting sharp ones. He shows his skill in this area throughout the album, but especially on "The Very Thought of You." Porcella delivers on the musical agenda with an expressive, pleasant baritone that takes an excursion into scatting now and then. Maybe Porcella can dance like Fred Astaire and that's why he saw no reason to sing songs that Astaire liked. Regardless, this album is a very pleasing 47 minutes of vocal entertainment, and is recommended.

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