Correspondence: About LaRosa

Rifftides reader and keen-eared critic Larry Kart writes about the June 15 item below:

 Lovely singing by both, but LaRosa will be news to some of us. As it happens, I’m old enough (b. 1942) to vaguely remember him from his Arthur Godfrey days, have heard since then that he was excellent on standards (when I heard him on Godfrey I probably was too young to know what a standard was; besides I couldn’t stand AG), and that he had grown as an interpreter over the years. I’d say, in addition to much else, that in this performance the (I assume) sheer physical pleasure LaRosa takes in singing is quite something. Are there any later recordings available that capture him at his best?

The best one I know of is Better Than Ever. LaRosa and an orchestra packed with superior New York jazz and studio musicians recorded it in 1996. In this CD, he excels in ballads, LaRosa.jpgamong them “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “My Foolish Heart” and an exceptional interpretation of “Here’s That Rainy Day.” His time feeling in the jump tunes–or whatever they’re called these days–is admirable. I’ve never heard “Volare” delivered with so much joy. LaRosa is the focus, but there are solos here and there by saxophonist Ted Nash, guitarist Gene Bertoncini, pianist Pat Rebillot and trombonist Michael Davis.

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