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Carrying on in style of Dorough, Allison, Newman

Slices of Life
Slices of Life
By Don Glaser

Brownstone Recordings: 1998

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This review first appeared in January 30, 1999 edition of the American Reporter.

Don Glaser doesn't have any dedications on his new album, "Slices of Life." But if he did, candidates for recognition would have to include Bob Dorough and Mose Allison. Particularly Dorough, for Glaser – like both of them a piano-playing singer – writes songs with the same delightful and ironic twists and dips as Dorough (who wrote the jazz standard, "I've Got Just About Everything.")

Glaser's voice is also similar to Dorough – a strongly nasal tenor. In his singing, too, he emulates Dorough's short phrases.

But this is no Dorough rip-off or tribute – Glaser has his own style, and he writes wonderful

songs – a lot of them, too: Thirteen of the sixteen here. They're light, swinging numbers with catchy melodies and sassy lyrics. In fact, if you were to sum up Glaser's music in a single phrase, "fun jazz" might be it. Songs like "Strawberry Jam" and "Moving" both bounce and engage in the kind of sly, even flirtatious word play that Allison has made into a career.

And not since Randy Newman's "Dayton, Ohio – 1903" has an obscure town gotten as swinging a tribute as Glaser's "Teaneck, N.J."

Actually, the Newman comparison is apt, because, as with the man who had hits with "Short People" and "You've Got a Friend" (from the Disney movie "Toy Story,") Glaser's outstanding piano playing often gets overlooked in favor of his singing and songs. At least Glaser gets a chance to show off his keyboard skills on a couple of cuts where his wife, Carol, sits in at the microphone.

It's this overall combination of strengths – singing, piano playing, writing great tunes – that make this album such a lovely listen.