Alan Kaplan Reviews
The reviews have been wonderful for “Lonely Town”
Alan Kaplan’s new release on Rylan Records
|Don Heckman for the LA Times wrote:
Trombonist Kaplan has probably performed on thousands of recordings and soundtracks, from “The Simpsons” to Barbra Streisand. For his own debut recording, he gathered a collection of equally gifted studio associates, brought in such fine arrangers as Russ Garcia, Bill Cunliffe and Tom Ranier, and assembled a kind of sumptuous, string-filled, instrumental version of Frank Sinatra’s atmospheric late-night recordings. Kaplan’s lush sound and moody way with a melody are front and center in a collection of tunes overflowing with the enigmatic qualities of love lost and found–tunes such as “Angel Eyes,” “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry,” “I Fall in Love Too Easily” and “Only the Lonely.” Best experienced with a bottle of Cabernet and a roaring fireplace.
|Jack Bowers for All About Jazz wrote:
Alan Kaplan’s name may be new to you but it’s well–known among music professionals in Los Angeles where he’s one of the area’s busiest and most sought–after studio musicians, having played trombone on everything from Star Trek to The Simpsons, Streisand concerts to Sleepless in Seattle, not to mention thousands of cartoons and other films. Even though remarkably successful in those ventures, the youngest trombonist ever to play with the Buddy Rich band (he was nineteen at the time) always dreamed of someday recording an album of classic ballads specially arranged to accentuate his warm, sensuous horn. Lonely Town is Kaplan’s dream come true. Backed by a large orchestra of strings, woodwinds and horns and playing charts by seven first–class arrangers, Kaplan pours heart and soul into fifteen ethereal ballads, five of which were recorded in 1996, the others last year. There’s little improvisation, and the finished product is reminiscent of those “late–night” albums for dancing or romancing fashioned nearly half a century ago by Jackie Gleason, Percy Faith, Mantovani and others, with Kaplan’s silky–smooth trombone supplanting Gleason’s charismatic trumpet soloist, Bobby Hackett, or Faith’s seductive oboe / English horn tandem as the dominant voice. Joe Curiale was the arranger / conductor in ’96, with four others — Russ Garcia, Bill Cunliffe, Tom Ranier, Steve Bernstein — sharing the podium on the more recent recording date (September ’01) and Hoyt Bohannon and Bob Alcivar supervising the “bonus tracks” (“Try to Remember,” “Don’t Like Goodbyes”), recorded last June and August. Kaplan is listed on “trombones,” as he becomes an electronically enhanced trombone “choir” on “Their Hearts Were Full of Spring” and the bonus tracks, the last two without the orchestra. Lonely Town, while beautifully arranged and played, is by no means a Jazz album, something prospective buyers should keep in mind. This is an earnest valentine to those who remember and appreciate lovely music as it used to be played — signed, sealed and affectionately delivered by an unrepentant and extravagantly talented romanticist.
The British Trombone Society Journal wrote:
If you like good ballad playing, this is for you.
Alan Kaplan is a great player. He uses his very fine range to advantage and his legato playing is just right for this type of playing. Add to this his very good breath control and you will learn that he has the full kit. His use of vibrato is very tasteful, nothing is overdone.
Most of all, he plays with great feeling. This is not cheap sentimentality demonstrated with a few slurps and glisses, no, he plays straight from the heart. Whatever the mood of the song, he gets right into it. You can feel his joy, his sorrow, his love and his heartache.
The backing to all of this is orchestral. How wonderful to hear real strings, woodwinds, horns and, of course, a rhythm section and harp. There are five top arrangers from around LA, and each one has given his own treatment to these lovely songs. To me both sound and balance live up to this quality product. The cover details are very interesting, the full personnel is given. On some titles Alan tracks on other trombone parts, and he gives us the details of the models of trombone he used.
He speaks of the inspiration given by Murray McEachern, Joe Howard, Urbie Green, Lloyd Ulyate, Dick Nash, and Buddy Morrow, also his teacher, Roy Main. A nice thought!