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Künstler: Simavi
Label: Original Cast


When major jazz icons passed away in the '80s, '90s, and 2000s, some of the sillier jazz critics would try to convince readers that the Young Lions were "replacements" for the dying legends. But such claims were flat-out ridiculous; giants like Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis were not replaceable. Period. That said, hard bop and post-bop's Young Lions performed a valuable function by keeping the straight-ahead jazz styles of the '50s and '60s alive -- and if straight-ahead jazz can have its Young Lions, is there any reason why traditional pop shouldn't have them as well? There isn't, and Simavi does his part to keep jazz-influenced traditional pop alive on his 2008 release, Memories of You. In 2009, the New York City resident's MySpace page jokingly stated that he was "100 years old" -- an obvious reference to the fact that his influences were from previous generations. No, Simavi wasn't really born in 1899, but his influences are mainly crooners who were born in the 1900s, '10s, and '20s. Simavi obviously identifies with the crooner school of traditional pop (with some cabaret influence as well), and the direct or indirect influences that one hears on this 63-minute CD include Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, and Nat King Cole, among others. Simavi is derivative, but he's enjoyably good at what he does -- and Memories of You is a stylistic throwback to the jazz-influenced traditional pop of the '30s, '40s, and '50s. This self-produced album is full of Tin Pan Alley warhorses that have been beaten to death over the years, including "The Way You Look Tonight" and "In the Still of the Night." But Simavi, who is backed by a 50-piece orchestra, also unearths his share of worthwhile songs that, although not obscure, haven't been beaten to death -- for example, Joe & Noel Sherman's "To the Ends of the Earth," Alan & Marilyn Bergman's "Love Looks So Well on You," and the Italian ballad "Non Dimenticar" (Simavi performs Shelley Dobbins' English lyrics, not the original Italian lyrics by Michele Galdieri). So when it comes to choosing material, Simavi isn't lazy; he does his homework. And while Memories of You doesn't pretend to be the least bit original, it is nonetheless a likable demonstration of Simavi's talents as a jazz-influenced traditional pop/cabaret vocalist. ~ Alex Henderson