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Tommy Smith - The Sound of Love - Audiophile Audition

03 October 2002
Audiophile Audition
John Henry

I was unfamiliar with Smith, and from the album photo and title I had expected a jazz vocalist rather than a tenor player. Being less into vocals, I was pleased, and more so upon seeing all the tunes tie in with Ellington and Strayhorn. There are 11 classics by one or the other or both of the famous pair - some of the loveliest ballads in 20th century music. The exception is Charles Mingus' Duke Ellington's Sound of Love. Smith was in Gary Burton's group in the mid-80s and his style has been compared to Ben Webster, Illinois Jacquet and Stan Getz. He's recorded eight previous albums, so he's definitely paid his dues. He gives Isfahan the longest treatment here at nearly nine minutes, and the shortest track is his two-minute totally unaccompanied version of Ellington's Solitude. Soundstaging is excellent in this direct-to-two-track recording. 
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