A stylish and agile vocalist with a firm sense of tradition.
Michael Quinn 2008
Ireland's contribution to jazz has been somewhat slender over the years (please, no letters – it has!) so the recent emergence of Dublin-born crooner Cormac Kenevey delights as much as it surprises.
Kenevey's second album shows he's no mere flash in the pan and comes with the added imprimatur of appearing on Alan Bates' Candid Records, home to new jazz celebs Jamie Cullum, Clare Teal and Stacey Kent.
The Art Of Dreaming is as smooth as a glass of 16-year-aged Three Wood Bushmills whiskey and deports itself with a knowing confidence and under-stated élan that, for the most part, persuades.
Kenevey trips himself up on a couple of occasions where youthful enthusiasm bests musical judgement. So you might want to bypass the bizarre beat-box tribute to electronic pop duo Moloko and fast-forward through Kenevey's own In The Extraoutosphere, which falls way short of its target despite trying a touch too hard.
Reservations noted, that still leaves 11 other tracks on which Kenevey puts his lyrical, soft-edged, late-night tenor voice to accomplished use. There's a fleet-footed version of Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields' The Way You Look Tonight (complete with fine tenor sax solo by Michael Buckley) and a couple of delightfully woozy lovelorn laments in Lerner and Loewe's I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face and, underpinned by a 4am-in-the-morning piano line from Phil Ware, Sammy Cahn's I Fall in Love Too Easily.
Opening track Relax puts Kenevey's own lyrics on top of a Bill Pitman guitar solo and transforms it into a winning signature tune in waiting courtesy of impeccable backing from Ware, Kevin Brady on drums, Dave Redmond on double bass and guitarist Hugh Buckley.
Elsewhere Kenevey confirms his growing reputation as a stylish and agile vocalist with a firm sense of tradition, a willingness to incorporate the new and brimming over with potential and the promise of great things to come.