Once upon a time there were giants in the field of jazz vocalists. The list is long, and includes such names as Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, and Nat “King” Cole, for starters. It has been a dying art for many years though, as all-instrumental music has pretty much replaced the vocalists of old. Besides Harry Connick Jr. I really cannot think of anyone else today who qualifies as a classic jazz singer.
That is until I discovered Sachal Vasandani. We Move is his second outing, on the Mack Avenue label. It definitely evokes images of the classic era of this type of music.
Opening with “Escape/There’s A Small Hotel,” Sachal and his trio set the pace for the high-quality hour of music to follow. It opens up with the quietly insistent sound of Quincy Davis’ drums, followed after a few bars by David Wong’s bass, and Jeb Patton’s cocktail-ish sounding piano. Right off the bat you realize that Sachal has put together a top-flight trio to accompany him.
This is nowhere more evident than on their cover of Thelonius Monk’s classic, “Monk’s Dream.” The song contains some great solos by Patton and Wong. Sachal delivers the lyrics in a pretty straightforward manner, reminiscent of Connick Jr.
Drummer Quincy Davis is great throughout, but his real shining moment comes on “I’d Let You Know.” As the song builds toward its crescendo, Davis just lets fly. You imagine him grinning ear to ear as he takes full advantage of the opportunity.
Sachal Vasandani’s voice is a little difficult to describe, just because it is so unique. There were more than a couple times I was reminded of the early Seventies singer-songwriter Jesse Colin Young. Which by the way, is meant as a compliment, I have always liked JCY.
Sachal flexes his vocal chops most effectively in the scatting style during “By The River St. Marie.” He gets pretty soulful in a couple of cuts as well, listen to “Heartbeat,” and “Travelin’ Light.”
To tell the truth, there is not a bad track to be found on We Move. It is refreshing to hear a relative newcomer to the scene with such style. I will be looking forward to hearing a lot more from Sachal Vasandani.