Less than a year after the release of its then latest album, COVID Sessions: A Social Call, the Temple University Jazz Band – with its director Terell Stafford – is set to return with its latest album, Without You, No Me. Unlike that record, this 10-song presentation was recorded with the collective’s members actually recording together in person. The 64-minute presentation is a work that will appeal to any jazz fan from beginning to end. That is due to the mix of originals and covers that make up the record’s body. One of the most notable of the album’s entries comes early in its run in the form of ‘Please Don’t Talk About Me.’ This song will be examined shortly. ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,’ is another standout addition to the album. It will be discussed a little later. Also of note is ‘The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ (But Some Pain),’ the album’s penultimate entry. All three songs are unique in their own way to this record’s presentation. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album an overall successful new offering from the Temple University Jazz Band.
The Temple University Jazz Band’s latest album, Without You, No Me is a strong new offering that no jazz fan will want to go without hearing. That is proven from beginning to end of the hour-plus record in each of its songs. One of the most notable of the album’s compositions comes early in the record in the form of ‘Please Don’t Talk About Me.’ Taken from the original song, ‘Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone’ (Sam Stept/Sidney Clare), the big band rendition featured here is a close rendition to that arrangement presented by Bidgood’s Good Boys more so than the take arranged by Gene Austin. Where Harry Bidgood and company arranged a version with a full band presentation, the Temple University Jazz Band has upped the ante and added nice 1940s/50s big band flare. Singer Danielle Dougherty’s vocals pair so well with the overall instrumentation, too. The whole gives the song the feel of something that one would expect from the old jazz clubs that were lined with marble pillars and bright lights back in the days of World War II. It is such a powerful updated take on the classic, and in turn a wonderful way to bring renewed attention to this otherwise lesser-known standard. It is just one of the songs that stands out in the record’s body, too. ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’ is another way in which this album shows its strength.
‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,’ which is another update on a standard better known as ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby,’ is another strong addition to the album. Originally composed in 1928 by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, the song featured here gives the original quite the kick in the pants so to speak, with its big band approach and sound. Famed bassist Christian McBride expertly forms the arrangement’s foundation through his performance while the brass and winds compliment his work just as well. Meanwhile, drummer Maria Marmarou adds her own flare here and there as she keeps time. In comparison, the original rendition has more of an almost classical feel incorporated into its mix. It has a sort of high society sense for lack of better wording. It is the polar opposite of the version featured here, which is just light and fun. It is a welcome update that audiences will enjoy just as much as its source material and just one more example of how much audiences have to appreciate from this record. The group’s cover of the Shirley Scott Trio’s ‘The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ (But Some Pain)’ is yet another example of what makes this record so appealing.
Originally recorded by the Shirley Scott Trio for its 1964 Impulse! Records debut, Great Scott, the original song is a subtle composition whose simple combination of vocals, organ and drums make it such a powerful presentation. Scott’s vocals in the original are so gentle, and because of that, are so immersive. Much the same can be said of the song’s instrumentation. The equally subtle organ line – even in its solo moments – gives the song such depth with its control. The Temple University Jazz Band’s rendition of the classic replaces the organ with the combination of horns, woodwinds and piano. Dougherty’s vocals meanwhile are just as strong as those of Scott. The saxophone solo that kicks in roughly halfway through the song does just as well to echo that of the organ solo in the original arrangement. The fire in the performance there will have audiences fully engaged and entertained. All things considered, the song is different from the original composition but is still just as entertaining as that work if not more so. When it is considered along with the other performances examined here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes the album a work that holds its own quite well against the rest of this year expansive sea of new jazz albums.
Temple University Jazz Band’s new album, Without You, No Me is an impressive new offering from the collective. It is a presentation of a group of young musicians who are just as talented as their older, professional counterparts and in turn deserve just as much credit and respect as those figures. That is proven from one song to the next. All three of the songs examined here do their own part to help support the noted statements, too. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s compositions, the whole becomes a work that every jazz aficionado will enjoy.
Without You, No Me is scheduled for release Friday through BCM+D Records. More information on this and other titles from BCM+D Records is available at https://boyer.temple.edu/about/bcmd-records.
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