Half a vocalese quartet is better than none

… especially when this half is made up of great voices

March 20, 2011
By Steven I. Ramm “Steve Ramm “Anything Phonographic (Phila, PA USA) 


Angie Doctor, one-fourth of the Bay area a capella vocalese jazz quartet named Clockwork, has teamed with singer Don Schumacher (one of the “Bobs” in the a capella group, The Bobs) for this new CD which covers a wide range of “pop songs”. Clocking in (no pun intended) at just 30 minutes, the album’s 12 tracks average just over two minutes, building up to the final song – Astor Piazzolla’s “Milonga del Angel” which has the duo vocalizing (or is it vocalese-ing?) for over 5 ½ minutes!

The songs range from standards like “All The Things You Are” and “Honeysuckle Rose” to the rock hit “Another One Bites The Dust’. Though Herb Nacio Brwn and Arthur Freed wrote “Temptation” in the 1930s, Doctor and Schumacher mix it up with the beat from Suzanne Vega’s first hit “Tom’s Diner”. “Brandenburg Gate”, at a brief 1:18 is a Dave Brubeck composition “Breaking Us In Two” is the Joe Jackson-penned song.

The album was produced by Richard Bob Greene – Schumacher’s partner in The Bobs. While the concept is interesting, I sort of felt something was missing. Probably another voice! Most vocalese groups (think Manhattan Transfer, The Bobs or even Doctor’s home group, Clockwork) are quartets and having only two voices, though good ones, leaves out some of the “color” that a spectrum of four voices brings.

But its still a fun album and the song choices are excellent.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”

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