Louise Rogers & Rick Strong - Bass-ically Speaking
Louise Rogers on Vocals
Rick String on Bass
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 27, 2005
This is a vocal-bass duo that knows how to keep a melody simple and magnetic, with traditional ballads, contemporary arrangements, and even a couple of interesting new works thrown into the mix. Louise Rogers has a fresh, new sound, uncomplicated with a one-instrument accompaniment, a resonant bass, played by the talented Rick Strong. They chose a few of my favorite ballads, and their straight-forward arrangements, fused with occasional scat, brought out the best from both renowned and recent melodies.
#1 – Bass-ically Speaking – Composed by Les Hooper. With a gentle lead by Rick Strong, Louise Rogers immediately introduces the almost-scat and full-scat title song. Strong can carry a bass lead or backup, plucking strings, and, at times, Rogers vocally imitates the actual bass string sound.
#4 – Willow Weep for Me – Composed by Ann Ronell. This is a sultry, sexy interpretation of a favorite torch song, with bluesy bass on its own for extended and elegant passages. I thought I had heard numerous arrangements of this piece, but this one has a down-home feeling of the countryside.
#5 – Autumn Leaves – Composed by Joseph Kozma, Johnny Mercer, Jacques Prevert. Introduced with rapid and re-appearing, vocal scat, Autumn Leaves takes on a new crispness. Rogers picks up the beat on this mellow ballad, twisting and turning it with a windy, winding interpretation, fused with bass scat, as well.
#10 – Shenandoah – Traditional. As it happens, this piece is one of my favorite traditional ballads, popular with children and adults. Strong’s bass provides a slow, soft background and interlude to Rogers’ poignant and moody rendition. This was a nice choice to end this relaxed recording.