Samson Trinh,
Very Strange Night
(Lounge Union, 2006)

This CD is not that strange, apart from beginning with the sound of a needle dropping onto a vinyl record.

The music here is a project that the young Samson Trinh worked on during his last year at Virginia Commonwealth University. It uses 48 musicians, including Trinh's own 17-piece Upper East Side Big Band.

Very Strange Night mixes swing vocal songs with jazz instrumentals. All but one are Trinh originals. He only plays on one song, with a piano introduction and added cymbal and finger snaps.

Trinh recalls the past with a mix of vocalists. "To You, Near You, With You" brings back the romantic strings of the big band era. "Signs are Full of Jive" does the same, but with a more swinging, horn-driven configuration. "That's Why" is a smoky lounge number with vocalist Terri Murphy backed by just piano, bass and drums. "Thank Goodness" leans more toward a country sound, complete with a lap steel solo.

The instrumentals are a bit more modern in style, except for the big band version of Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne's "Time After Time." The title track is an interesting big band arrangement, featuring flute, guitar and muted trumpet but adding a bit of horn bombast.

"I Tried to Talk to Her But She Thought I was Too Weird" uses a quartet that mixes improvisation and funk, while "I Can't Believe I'm Addicted to the O.C." uses two saxes and two trumpets, playing a slightly offbeat arrangement with a rhythm section.

The one drawback to this CD is its short length. The opening track (described above) is only eight seconds and another is 25. The other eight only bring the running time to about 35 minutes. However, it's an entertaining half-hour.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Dave Howell

22 December 2007

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