Jack Lemmon
Piano & Vocals
(Laserlight 15 387)

For anyone who's ever wondered what it would be like if Jack Lemmon cut a straight-ahead jazz album, Jack Lemmon, Piano & Vocals answers the question. It would be like this: not very good.

"But he was so funny in Grumpy Old Men, wouldn't his jazz album be good?" No. It wouldn't.

You gotta hand it to the people at Laserlight, though. They understand marketing issues I could never hope to fathom, such as how to market a CD by a celebrity whose musical output has no demand. I mean, everyone loves Jack Lemmon, but I can think of few people under 90 who would want to bother sitting through a CD by him.

This concept was just as true 40 years ago, when Jack made his first stab at a pop singing career. I would hardly call those albums highly-prized collector's items.

On this 1990 session, Lemmon is backed by Tommy Newsom and His TV Jazz Stars (don't get me started on how lame that is), resulting in a competently-enough executed vanity project. At least if it had been Conrad Janis's big band, maybe I'd be hooked.

The vocals (four of the fourteen tracks) are exactly how you'd imagine Jack Lemmon to sound singing, and the tenor of the album seems to be "feelin' pretty good" as evidenced by "Getting Some Fun Out Of Life," and (closing my eyes in consternation) "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile."

I lose. Truly, I must stop buying things as a joke.

Review by Traintracker