If you are not aware of the dulcet tones of Matt Dusk then you are a ninny and a fool to yourself 😀 It’s probably not the best way to entice you to try out an artist you may be unaware of, but sometimes I feel it is best to be upfront about these things 😛 Anyhoo, as many of you probably do know, Matt Dusk is the fine purveyor of a mix of self penned jazz-tinged, big band numbers and delightful classics. His Live from Las Vegas CD/DVD is a real treat that showcases what a consumate, witty performer he is, injecting his own style into the standards and demonstrating how effortlessly his own compositions hold up against such impossibly high quality (Indeed, his own compositions often work incredibly well alongside massive pop hits – I did a lovely piano medley of Wouldn’t Change A Thing with Bruno Mars’ Marry You for my parents 50th anniversary).
So news that Matt has a new album out early this year (The Chet Baker Songbook) filled me with joy. He’s previewing this set with an altogether elegant and studied version of My Funny Valentine. Set to a sweeping and enchanting strings-led instrumental over that enticing c-minor tonic, when Matt’s voice comes in at 40 seconds it’s instantly engaging and seductive. Indeed, he’s not so much a gatekeeper of other people’s songs (though he’s always reverent and respectful of the original material) rather a master interpreter, finding nuance & new meaning in the words and music of others. He’s playful with the more teasing lyrics, but ultimately the romance & desire of the song shine through with his resonant tones uncovering hidden layers of the tune. It’s quite the accomplishment to do this with such a universally well known (& oft-covered) musical gem. But that’s Matt Dusk for you – dapper chappy, gorgeous expressive voice and ability to make something familiar sound entirely new. The album can’t come quick enough – I suspect the Chet Baker songs are in safe hands 🙂
UPDATE: Well bless my barnacles, Matt sure is busy in the run up to the album release. He’s only just bestowed us with My Funny Valentine yet hot on it’s heels is a truly sensational version of Time After Time (both featuring ace trumpeter Arturo Sandoval). Of course you will know the rather lovely and touching version that featured in the classic film It Happened In Brooklyn (and if not, why not?! Rectify that instantly. I’ll wait!) The elegiac strings sweetly underscoring that sumptuous trumpet conjour up images of a smoky bar, Mad Men style, while Matt gently croons his declaration of love and dedication. His voice is imbued with a charming, sincere quality that’s hard to resist – part of that seems to be reflecting his joy in singing the tune as well as channelling the lyrics (as discussed above). I love how as the pace picks up after that dreamy middle 8, so does the glee in Matt’s voice as it turns into a celebration of a relationship that continues to endure. Utterly delightful. PS, Matt still looks quite dapper in the still on the video. I bet he can make any outfit look dashing… the git 😀