DREAM DANCING WITH YOU - LINER NOTES
Jim Porcella has always loved singing vintage classics. “The lyrics of the Great American songbook are so well written,” says Jim, “and are still very relevant today. They paint beautiful pictures without being corny.” During his career, he has infused the songs with his warm, friendly voice, his swinging style, and the obvious joy that he displays when interpreting such superior music.
He grew up in Medford, MA, played drums professionally for many years, starting when he was 16. He discovered many jazz giants at the legendary Lennie’s on the Turnpike. Jim began vocalizing when he was part of a trio based on Jackie and Roy. Jim, who has a natural singing voice, grew to love it and developed an appealing style coupled with a full understanding of the lyrics. He has performed at a countless number of venues throughout New England and led his swing band Bombay Jim and the Sapphires for the past 20 years. Dream Dancing With You is his seventh album.
Pianist-arranger Mike Renzi, who worked with Peggy Lee and Mel Torme, picked the all-star lineup for the project. The quartet includes the late great Bob Cranshaw famous for his many decades as Sonny Rollins’ bassist. Drummer Buddy Williams, whose endless list of credits range from Stevie Wonder to Chris Conner and Bob James to Cedar Walton, and the masterful swing tenor Harry Allen.
Starting with a romantic version of “Dream Dancing” which is given a light bossa feel, this is a memorable set that finds Jim Porcella at the top of his form. He swings hard on an infectious version of “Stepping Out,” scats on “It Don’t Mean A Thing” (which has two choruses by Allen in the Stan Getz tradition), and swings on the lesser-known but memorable “I Wonder Why.”
Jim Porcella particularly excels on his heartfelt renditions of ballads which are often duets with Renzi, who doubles on electric piano. These include an “Autumn Medley” (combining together the verse of “Autumn Leaves” with the lesser-known ‘Autumn”), a lyrical rendition of “My Romance,” “Here’s To Life,” “I Remember You” and a pair of successful two-song medleys in which the tunes are united by common themes. A special bonus is a pair of songs (“Too Close For Comfort” and “Lulu’s Back In Town”) that pay tribute to Mel Torme.
The result is Jim Porcella’s strongest recording to date, an excellent balance between swinging tunes and atmospheric ballads that will please fans of top-notch singing and classic American songs.
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Jazz Singers and Jazz On Record 1917-76