With apologies to – and more than a few playful winks at - Beethoven, multi-talented songwriter, soprano saxman, singer, swinger and scatter extraordinaire is cornering the market on odes to joy these days with his latest album Still Happy.
A definite pick-me-up in these times when the news seems to be all gloom and doom, the collection is driven by songs exploring our most coveted feeling and emotion in clever, witty and jubilant ways, balanced brilliantly by more soulful reflections on what happiness means and what makes us happy inside.
To Bacher, his producer Jeff Levenson, pianist/arranger Allen Farnham and a crafty, swingin’ band featuring the wild tenor sax solos of Harry Allen and flashy trumpet and flugelhorn of Charles Caranicas, happiness is…a dreamy, drifting “Lazy Afternoon.” A buoyant, brass fired command to “Get Happy.” A whimsical opportunity to choose to start “Laughing at Life” instead of crying. A coolly struttin’ reminder that we should be “Shakin’ the Blues Away.” A tender reminder that, when all is said and done, as Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green remind us, we should feel “Lucky To Be Me.” A humorous updated trip to La La Land via Bacher’s hilarious reworking of “Hooray For Hollywood” (featuring the rhyme of Jeremy Renner with Caitlyn Jenner) is also good medicine to shoo those blues.
Aside from showcasing the many facets of Bacher’s artistry (hardcore swinger, soulful crooner, witty and lyricist to start), perhaps what is most endearing about Still Happy is that he keeps it decidedly “uncorny” (the theme is ripe for that treatment) and artfully balances exuberant bursts of excitement with deeper inward meditations – as on the haunting, sax driven closing medley of the Bix Beiderbeck and Django Reinhardt tunes, “Cloudy/Nuages. And while a jazz rendition of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” might have been cute, we can thank our lucky stars Bacher didn’t tell us, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” just because he could have.
Danny Bacher will be performing on SEPTEMBER 30th at THE CUTTING ROOM, 44 E 32ND ST., SHOWTIME: 7:00PM - AN ALBUM RELEASE PARTY!!
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