Joe Coughlin - Dedicated to You

A vocal jazz quasi-tribute to Coltrane / Hartman

Joe Coughlin Dedicated to You Album Cover
Album cover photo: Rich Levine. Model: Olivia Byers. Design and layout: John Sellards

Joe Coughlin's vocal jazz album Dedicated to You – released today – is highly aligned with the classic 1963 record John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.

Within his album's 12 tracks, Joe has cut five of the six songs from that record. Oddly enough, the only one he's left out is my personal favourite, the one my high school friends and I used to cover, "You Are Too Beautiful".

On "Lush Life" and "They Say It's Wonderful". Ryan Oliver comes in with a justifiably Coltrane-esque tone.

Joe indeed has a similar appeal to Hartman's when he hangs out in the baritone range – check out how he hangs on the final vowel of "They Say It's Wonderful".

Joe is a few years away from age 70; going back to a 1981 debut album, he has apparently made eight records.

Bernie Senensky and Terry Clarke were on that debut album, and they're also here on Dedicated to You. (From my recent reviews and Cellar's recent releases, Neil Swainson is here too.)

"Life is one long jubilee, so long as I care for you and you care for me," Joe sings in the last lyric of "Who Cares". I'm admittedly not looped-into his career, so I'm enjoying discovering him through this project.

Dedicated To You, by Joe Coughlin
11 track album

Dedicated To You: When Your Lover Has Gone; On Green Dolphin Street; Lush Life; It Could Happen To You; They Say It's Wonderful; Kiss & Run; Autumn Serenade; My Ship; My Only And Only Love; Who Cares; Nature Boy; Dedicated To You. (59:09)

Personnel: Bernie Senensky on piano, Neil Swainson on bass; Terry Clarke on drums; Ryan Oliver on saxophone.

The verse of "On Green Dolphin Street" is cool. More people should do it: probably instrumentalists too and not just singers. We don't all need to do the vampy Miles-style pedal intro.

Then there's the crooner arrangements. It's a bit weird to go from the baritone balladry into "It Could Happen To You", "Kiss & Run", and the other swinging tracks that resemble what I've been used to hearing from Steve Maddock. ("Who Cares" is funny because the verse fits right in, then it launches into medium swing.)

Maybe that's just what happens in an album of this length. One of the things that made the Coltrane / Hartman LP so special was that it was just the crushing ballads, no Ol' Blue Eyes.

But hey, if we're going to do both, who better to do it than a veteran talent like Joe? I enjoy his voice as a standards singer, it's unimpeachable and presented with an all-star band.

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