Vocalist Bob Mundy has a distinguishable blue-eyed soul voicing that melds the smooth timbres of Johnny Mathis with the commanding poise of Michael Feinstein. His latest release, Love to Me, is a collection of covers and original tunes that emerged from his collaboration with songwriters Chris Caswell and Steven Cagan. Track after track is finely tailored to bring out the lush textures of his vocal register.
“But Beautiful” shows Mundy at his most handsome as a vocalist, reaching deep into his emotions and surfacing with a persona that weighs the pros and cons of love, believing the affection is worth the plunge. He ruminates, “Love is tearful / Or it’s gay / It’s a problem or it’s play / It’s a heartache in the rain / But beautiful / And I’m thinking / That if you were mine / I’d never let you go / And that would be but beautiful, I know.”
Mundy possesses a sagacious tint in his timbres along “Carpe Diem” as he asserts, “Our time is now … we may never pass this way again … take the passion / Let me love you in my fashion / Carpe diem / Seize the moment, right now.” The delicate kneading of Dan Kaufman’s keys are joined by Yves Dharamra’s wandering cello strings, making for softly lit atmospherics that enhance the romantic mood. The festive ambience of “All You Need to Say” has a Latin accent and glides into a swing jazz pulse through “No Time for Love” that will remind the listener of lounge singers who fill the halls of Las Vegas casinos.
Mundy sings the lyrics as though they each have a personal meaning for him. His delivery of “I Never Liked You” moves audiences, while the caressing strokes of his vocals along “Until” prop an uplifting tilt in the track. The silky texture of the guitar in “The Last Night of the Year” rises and falls with Mundy’s vocals, proceeding in tandem and fanning the fervor. Mundy channels a cool swagger likened to Sammy Davis Jr. in “You Wanna Bet” and conveys a conversational demeanor in “Loads of Love” that is reminiscent of Broadway showtunes.
Mundy creates an intimacy with the audience that makes him personable. His calming demeanor and the commanding poise of his vocals make him distinguishable. The arrangements are finely tailored to complement his gentlemen-like manner, putting him in the ilk of such classic jazz vocalists as Johnny Mathis and Michael Feinstein.
Bob Mundy – vocals, Dan Kaufman – piano, Peter Slovov – bass, Mark Ferber – drums, Lage Lund and Sean Harkness – guitar, Dominick Farinacci – trumpet, Sam Sadigursky – tenor and soprano saxophones, Joel Frahm – tenor saxophone, Keita Ogawa – percussion, Yves Dharamra – cello