|All Artists: Ecklund, Foster|
Title: Potted Palm Orchestra
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Peter Ecklund & Scott Foster
Release Date: 7/12/2005
Genres: Folk, Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
DELIGHTS AMONG THE POTTED PALMS
Marianne Mangan | NYC | 09/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe the leaders had a vision. Maybe they were just doing what they do best, but together. They definitely have a sense of humor, if the album title is any indication, and they certainly hang with terrific string musicians. The result is a delight.
There's no slavish recreation of period music to be found among these potted palms: no Peter Duchin-style arrangements, or Paul Whiteman, or Vince Giordano either. Oh, that society bounce is present in "Slow Boat to China" and you might imagine foxtrotting around the hotel ballroom to "Nevertheless." But sooner or later every cut gives way stylistically to a vocal or instrumental solo that makes it a unique interpretation of a standard. Peter Ecklund's horn, by turns sassy and poignant, is always swinging and musically astute. The lyrics are deconstructed by Scott Foster, who is closer to Willie Nelson or Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel than he is to Russ Columbo.
Surprises abound in this wonderful mix of time and place. The American Songbook tunes, while refreshed enough to be interesting, are appropriately optimistic and cosmopolitan. But here we also have heartbreak accompanied by a divine jazz fiddle: the lovely yearning of the country waltz "Miss the Mississippi and You" and the quiet despair of "Going Away Party"--thrown at a hotel in Bob Wills' country, I suppose. Or "Till There Was You," taken from Broadway to be sung simply and graced with Ecklund's subtly heraldic jazz riffs.
What the songs have in common is a musical intimacy; they each make beautiful sense in a quietly beguiling way."