Best known as a trumpeter on two previous solo albums and as a member of numerous big bands and orchestras (including for many Broadway shows), Augie Haas takes the title of his latest album Dream a Little Dream quite literally as his dreams of being a world class vocalist flourish.
Though his vocal range isn’t quite yet on par with his expansive mastery on the horn, his crooning on this set of buoyantly arranged, lushly orchestrated pop and R&B standards is beautiful and effective in bringing out the emotions and deeper soul of everything from a playful “Goody Goody,” a gospel inflected “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and the tender “I Only Have Eyes for You” and “Earth Angel” to a snappy, jazzy stroll through “Ooh Child.” On the instrumental side, he brings his nimble horn energy to a sensual, soaring “Blackbird” and a heavily orchestrated spin on “Love Me Tender” which turns it into a bop madness delight. Occasionally, Haas also finds the perfect moment to incorporate his trumpet into the vocal tunes.
It’s a fun-filled but intricately textured session given wings by Haas’ multitude of talents and the jazzy energy of Carmen Staaf (piano/organ), Jared Schonig (drums/percussion) and Dick Sarpola (upright bass/double bass). The question is, what comes next? More instrumentals? More vocals? Or a sublime mix? It’s exciting to contemplate the palette that lies ahead for Haas.