Toronto
1 min

You gotta have Hart

'Falling in love with love'

STANDARD BEARER. The great American songbook meets Toronto's favourite songbird John Alcorn. Credit: Xtra files

The first thing that will strike you upon hearing this local hottie’s first collection of standards is his complete mastery of the rich instrument that is his voice. On Quiet Night: The Intimate Rodgers And Hart, it is hard not to think of the great interpreters Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett when you hear Alcorn’s supreme command of phrasing and his intelligence when it comes to finding his own identity in these lyrics.



Richard Rodgers and Larry Hart are certainly not the sexiest of writers by reputation, but their classical almost rigid formalism works wonderfully for Alcorn who seems to be inhabiting these little love songs like someone born to experience them.



Well-loved material from the canon like “Thou Swell” and “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” are represented here, but, wonderfully, so are many lesser known gems like “My Heart Stood Still” and the title track, as well as “This Can’t Be Love,” a romping duet with Molly Johnson whose energy and sass drives Alcorn up into his exciting high range.



The arrangements are kept spare on this self-produced outing featuring Alcorn’s terrific regular working unit (Richard Whiteman on piano, Steve Wallace on bass and Daniel Barnes on drums), moving from swinging jazz through latin grooves and full out ballads the likes of which should have that gal from BC Diane Krall calling Alcorn up for duets, soon. In fact, what these two Canadian jazzsters have in common – besides marketable good looks – is an intimate approach to the material at hand that is never showy and always in keeping with the original intention of the song.



Alcorn’s incredible command of the genre of jazz standards begs the question: What intelligent label will help us hear him essay the rest of the great American songbook?



QUIET NIGHT: THE INTIMATE RODGERS AND HART.

John Alcorn.

$18. www.johnalcorn.com.