QUIET PLEASE • Darius de Haas (vocalist); Steven Blier (pn) • BRIDGE 9344 (62:33)
This is an absolutely delightful disc—a collection of American songs and ballads, beautifully sung and lovingly accompanied by one of our finest collaborative pianists. I did not want to take up Fanfare space with a complete headnote, but the contents include They All Laughed, I’ve Got a Crush on You, Mr. Paganini, Someone to Watch Over Me, Paper Moon, In a SentimentalRead more Mood, Sophisticated Lady, and Love for Sale—17 songs in all. They range from the sentimental to the comedic, and De Haas and Blier capture each mood convincingly and precisely.
If you want a hint as to the style of the disc, think Michael Feinstein. That is emphatically not to indicate that De Haas is an imitator; he has his own style. But that might help to identify the genre of the music and performances here, and I suspect that if you enjoy the work of Feinstein as much as I do, you’re going to love this recording.
De Haas has extraordinary vocal control—the dynamics and shading at the end of There’s a Boat That’s Leaving Soon for New York followed by the wonderful soft singing that opens Good Morning Heartache are the work of a finished, well-schooled singer and one who has a deep feeling for the music he is singing. Blier matches him nuance for nuance. De Haas’s diction is very clear, so one does not have to strain to make out any of the words.
As you can probably tell, I enjoyed this disc immensely, and if you like this genre I can confidently predict that you will too. Good, natural sound quality and excellent notes round out the release.