If you woke up this morning with a yearning for something more endearing than the caress of your hand on your iPhone, something more romantic than coffee in a cardboard cup . . . if you long for something to touch the heart more directly than the friendship of Facebook, may I recommend this new CD? It might not be the Magic Eraser for all that’s annoying in this century, but it feels like a spiritual panacea in musical form.
Jesse Gelber is a fine laconic pianist — his playing can summon up the right-hand epigrams of the great Harlem ticklers but I also hear the brisk cadences of nineteenth-century parlor piano and a hint of Garner. His partner in time is songbird Kate Manning, who can belt as forcibly as any Broadway star, but here displays a sweet, resonant tonality that will woo even the coolest character. On this CD, they are surrounded by New York’s finest — not the NYPD, but Charlie Caranicas on hot (often muted) trumpet and cornet; Kevin Dorn on drums; Andrew Hall or Doug Largent on drums; Matt Munisteri or Eric Baldwin on guitar. The songs date from the first half of the last century, but they are not at all dated — the performances by this band are neither self-consciously ironic (“Look at how corny these old songs were! Look us US!”) nor are they museum-quality respectfully nostalgic: Gelber and Manning seem to be having fun, and that feeling is contagious in the nicest way. And the CD also offers two of their ingenious, hummable originals — one of them the disc’s title song.
If you’d like to hear snippets from the CD (and I assure you that snippets won’t be enough) here’s a link:
Here’s more about the team of Gelber and Manning — available for all kinds of festivities, and capable of making the dullest day festive:
And on their website (http://gelberandmanning.com/) you can watch a video of one of their web-productions, GINTOWN . . . very much inside the loop!