Still working to make retro modern, this east coast band scores again. Outstanding musicians. Smart lyrics. A vocalist who knows how to both sing and play with the lyrics.
And best of all, they all seem to be having a lot of fun.
Lyrics (“I Just Want All of My Stuff”) like:
He wishes all the best for me
And hopes I’ll move on soon
Well I’ve got myself a rental truck
And I’ll be out by noon.
Who pulls this off? Marilyn Older gives the voice to Charlie Barnett’s lyrics, always taking the high road, throwing this stuff off with a straight face. In the process, she gives new life to old classics like West Side Story’s “Cool,” or a very uptempo “Via Con Me,” with English lyrics to Paolo Conte’s Italian classic that’s been covered more than two dozen times in the past 30 years.
But while covers can pay the rent, it’s the original stuff that gets noticed. Mr. Barnett has the material, and Ms. Older delivers the goods.
It would be a disservice not to say that for me, Ms. Older’s vocals are the capper to a versatile group that includes Pete Ostle on bass, Joe Jackson on trombone, Tom Barrick on drums, and Gary Gregg on sax and clarinet. They’re able to take this kind of material – and in a world that’s been Mad Men-ed to death, pay homage to both the past, and to make it sound fresh, too. The band shows their stuff on two instrumentals, one the original (Mr. Barnett, again) “Señor Hueso,” the other on a very uptempo “Old Man River.”
Highest recommendation for this sixth disc from this band.
– Reviews –
Not only does this crew just keep getting cooler each time out, the retro times have caught up to them, as this is so in the ‘Mad Men’ pocket that it’s impossible to figure out which end of the retro-neuvo spectrum is which. A throwback to groovy jazz firing up the suburbs, everyone here is so on the money that it’s mind blowing. Charlie Barnett writes great stuff. Marilyn Older has a total knack for these vocals. The rest of the crew that first turned up for a one-off lark is right in step with the whole thing. Jaded tastes that just need to come flying out of the box with some fun will really appreciate this set, the group’s sixth outing that really moves them into the gold circle. Offbeat, sly and solidly performed, this set will reside on any hip adult’s hit parade for quite some time. Hot stuff throughout.
Catherine P. Lewis of The Washington Post praises our Christmas album:
The “lounge” in Chaise Lounge’s name is no accident: This local sextet plays a cool blend of jazz and lounge that’s as easy to listen to as it is to recline in a comfy chair. On the group’s new album, “A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas,” the band tackles traditional holiday classics, lesser-known covers and a few original compositions.
Coupled with arrangements by the group’s pianist, Charlie Barnett, singer Marilyn Older’s voice is charming here. Chaise Lounge’s versions of “Good King Wenceslas” and “The Little Drummer Boy” give a fresh pep to those overplayed songs, and Older’s take on “Mister Santa” (a holiday song with the “Mr. Sandman” melody) is delightfully sweet. Chaise Lounge revives an old Jimmy Charles hit, “Christmasville, U.S.A.,” with twinkling piano and sassy horns, and later gives a modern flair to the fun retro lyrics of Steve Allen’s “Cool Yule.”
Surprisingly for a holiday album, though, Chaise Lounge’s original songs are the most memorable. Barnett’s piano melody beautifully complements Older on the ballad “The Heart of December,” while the whole group conveys a lively restraint on the horn-filled “December 25.” But the most charming composition is “Snow Day,” which channels the joy of the holiday season with a youthful innocence that’s usually impossible to capture outside of the genre of children’s music.
Chaise Lounge are now contributors to the vast world of Christmas albums with A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas (Modern Songbook), and if you like your holiday festivities to be a bit on the jazzy side, this is for you.
The songs on this range from the familiar to the slightly obscure along with new compositions, so you get to hear Marilyn Older grace her beautiful voice in tracks like “December 25″, “Good King Wenceslas”, “The Man With The Bag”, “Christmasville, U.S.A.”, and one of my all time favorites, “Little Drummer Boy”. It’s a chance for everyone in the group to shine in their own way, and even with the glut of Christmas music available, Chaise Lounge are capable of making these classics sound new again while exchanging them with new songs that will hopefully be recorded by others for years to come.
This is from some blog called “this is books music”
CHAISE LOUNGE/A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas: Nothing beats a non gloomy Christmas down at the bar. Lounging it up on originals and classics together, this is not strict 90s lounge revival sounds as the crew goes deeper into genre blending on their newest platter. Easy rolling stuff that has lounge, pop, rockabilly, honky tonk and smatterings of other left of center sounds that show us what space age pop is like in the 10s. As much as we loved them last time out, we love them even more now as this is a quasi-retro juggernaut of cool in top form. It’s so groovy you can play it year round. The hype sheet calls it an instant classic and they aren’t kidding. Check it out.
Chris Spector – Midwest Record – midwestrecord.com
This just in from the esteemed jazz writer Ken Borgers (also a DJ at KKJZ in Long Beach, and JazzKnob.org) A review of “A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas”
“Chaise Lounge is a delicious, subtle, swinging ensemble that, to borrow a phrase from Duke Ellington, is beyond category. Steve Allen’s hip “Cool Yule” and the Kay Starr hit “The Man with the Bag” will bring a smile to jazz fans, and “Mr. Santa” out-Chordettes the Chordettes. There’s even a non-annoying version of Garrison Keillor’s least favorite holiday song, “Little Drummer Boy,” which someone should pass along to him as proof that in the proper hands, anything can swing. Add a little rockabilly and a couple of reimagined classics and here, at last, is new music for the season!”