Rees Shad

REVIEW: Rees Shad “Tattletale”


Rees Shad – Tattletale

On first listen these songs sound like a collection of newly discovered jazz ballads left in an old piano used by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, or Tony Bennett. Each has a 50s early 60s character of well-shaped pop songs from an era of exquisitely written material.

The most ear-appealing comes with the slow piano-driven “Call This Done.” A catchy melody, sung with passion by Rees Shad (guitars/piano) in a voice that dominates a room like few voices do today. The lyrics are not weak in any manner but jazz-pop poetic. Some cleverly literate, with a lyrical magical sense often found in the pens of Oscar Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart & Hoagy Carmichael songs. Some songs were like they were written by these writers with the team sensibility with their respective composer partners. A modern light jazz twist of pop lemon is added by Mr. Shad who uses it with expertise.


Rees Shad

There are beauties here recorded in Rhinecliff, NY. Tattletale (Drops Oct 7–Independent) has 11-cuts that after all the basic, well-disciplined opening performances display an upbeat French-styled gypsy-street song with “In the Arms of Tania Vanessa.” This melody could’ve been used for a French-Italian romantic director’s art film. The accordion & acoustic guitar are reminiscent of the late Django Reinhardt. There’s an element of vintage in the showcase but not retro, not antiquated, but freshly conceived (“Nobody Said”).

Shad manages a more mainstream “Can’t Remember” which is excellent — not only for Shad’s vocals but arrangement. Shad sings with a Joe Cocker power with far more range & singing lessons. All rough edges smoothed over. His voice always exudes warmth & “Carolina Wren” is filled with sophisticated singing with a Carter Family flavor with the expressive Ruth Ungar.

Rees takes you into another era, but the journey is with moments of resurrection that develop its own ultimate jazz boite throughout. Rees keeps it interesting by injecting dynamics into his showcase. His voice is perfect for these attractions. The Hoagy comparisons come with the inflections in the title tune “Tattletale,” & its Dixieland-saloon bounce while Mark Fineberg’s reeds sparkle.

“Lost In Translation,” is a tune Van Morrison would appreciate with its smooth sax coupled with herky-jerky almost bird sounds that border on 50s exotica – only this has spice. As they all do. Highlights – “Mickey Mouse Romeo,” “Under New Management,” “Hatter’s Song,” & any title in the body copy.

Band – Tony Aiello (reeds), Larry Campbell (violin), Ira Coleman & Jeff Link (upright & electric bass), Bobby Kay & Tom Major (drums), Brian Mitchell (accordion), Carlos Valdez (percussion), Jimmy Weider (electric guitar/slide guitar/mandolin) & Matt Ziegler (Hammond B3/Wurlitzer Piano).

Color image from Rees’ website. CD @

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