TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

by John Labelle

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    LINER NOTES

    In the commercial environment of today's recording industry it can be difficult to discern whether an artist is sincere or simply aiming for the biggest demographic. Too often younger vocalists who cover standards from the Great American Songbook sound like caricatures of the singers they purport to pay homage to. At best, they sound retro, replete with a slavish imitation of the styles and techniques of the thirties, forties, and fifties.

    Not so John Labelle. A young man, who was not even born when the Beatles arrived on the scene, John Labelle was exposed to the heritage of Sinatra, Bennett and Nat Cole through family, and developed a deep connection with the music and its practitioners that is unusual in this day and age.

    This compact disc was recorded in two short sessions and represents the kind of material performed at our live gigs in Montreal some three hundred nights a year. Since we don't have set arrangements, John is unable to use autopilot and just go through the motions of an oft-performed routine. He is always listening closely to his confreres in the group and I can attest to his ability to adapt to unexpected twists and turns in the harmonic and rhythmic background.

    We often speak of the E factor, or ecstasy, which we experience when we are listening closely to each other and giving up individual concerns towards the greater goal of group oneness. This can only be attained when things are flowing naturally and the group is truly in the moment.

    Alec Walkington is a widely experienced bassist, who also plays piano and teaches at McGill University. Aside from being a fine player and composer, he seems to know the lyrics to every tune ever written. This talent is of immeasurable help to us when we have to wing it on some off-the-wall request. On a serious note, his knowledge of songs and their harmonies enables him to chose the best bass lines to make my chords sound rich and full. Alec is my essential partner in attempting to provide the optimum emotional colour to highlight John's rendering of the lyric.

    Dave Laing, the drummer on this session, is a highly regarded player in his own right and is much in demand on the Montreal jazz scene. He can stir it up as much as required, yet always retains the relaxation essential to swinging jazz. Dave is a member of the faculty at McGill. On this recording he provides a beautiful orchestral support, yet never once crowds or overshadows the lyrics of the songs.

    John Labelle's natural musicianship has continued to surprise and delight me over the course of several thousand performances together during the last eight years. If you want proof of his sincerity and honesty in delivering these songs don't take my word for it. Just listen!

    Greg Clayton, September 2002
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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Theme For Montreal, Un Soir A Montreal, DANCING IN THE DARK - THE ESSENTIAL JOHN LABELLE, THE MONTREAL SESSIONS, John Labelle Christmas Collection, I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU, DON'T SAY NO, TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT, and 1 more. , and , .

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credits

released August 11, 2003

John Labelle, vocals
Greg Clayton, guitar
Alec Walkington, bass
Dave Laing, drums

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John Labelle Montreal, Québec

Award winning Canadian Vocalist John Labelle, specializing in Classic Vocal Jazz & Swing / Singer / Songwriter and Recording Artist. Having performed for over 25 years, starting in his hometown of Montreal, John Labelle has since been entertaining audiences around the world. ... more

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