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The Best Of Blu opens like one of those smokey detective novels where the girl in the bar spots our hero and invites him to sing her a song – Make Your Move is an original Jonny Blu/Bob Malone tune that swings like Jonny’s covers, but has a very fresh Jonny Blu feel. The second cut, Dignity is Jonny’s anthem – full of brass, grit and determination. The next two tracks are indeed the singles and pop-crossover songs on the album. Showing Blu’s pop side, cut three, Let Go, is an acknowledgement of the breadth of musical influences drifting around his creative psyche, with all the pop fix-ins down to a trumpeted tribute to the famous Sgt. Pepper riff during the instrumental. The fourth cut on his new album was introduced into his mind, as Jonny told me, during the last few weeks of his Grandma Rose’s life. While I Got You could also be a heartfelt dedication to his girlfriend, Jonny first wrote “When I’m feeling sad and lonely and need someone to hold me, I know at least I’ve got you,” as a tribute to his Gram and Gramps and their exemplifying what means to truly have dedication and love for another person in life.
A flashback to his earlier career, cut five is Jonny’s jazzy, Brazilian Girl from Ipanema. Some years ago, a dear friend, retired L.A.P.D. detective and crime writer Paul Bishop, invited my wife and I to see this talented young singer perform at Vitello’s in Studio City, where this song among others caught my ear and has been a personal and fan favorite ever since.
Cut six is part of a project Blu and his co-writer Bob Malone did for music publishing behemoth Peer Music Group in 2009. The duo
were hired to update Peer Music songs, creating a selection of popular Latin Standards to be used to attract commercial, movie and TV licensing deals. Adding a little rock ‘n roll to Desi Arnaz’s signature song, Babalu has gained tons of notoriety for Blu. Following Babalu, from the same Taboo CD project, is a hip-swaying bossa version (in Spanish!) of the classic Latin standard, Besame Mucho.
One of Blu’s trademarks from his live performances, an uptempo, brassy version of Fascination follows. Then Blu’s fun, riding-in-a-one-horse-open-sleigh holiday tune, Holiday for Two, will likely take Jonny’s music to many holiday parties, and more than likely to more than a couple of holiday movies. Nothing melancholy, it‘s a Holiday for Two!
Another Jonny Blu original Smilin’ Eyes (Ain’t Always Nice), adds the smoke back to the lounge atmosphere you’ll set when you “spin” the CD and pour the requisite martini. From early in his career, Blu’s self-penned Ooh-Wee has long been a fan fave and it was time to re-introduce it to all who’ve discovered Jonny via more recent albums like his Ukulele Experience Volume One and the aforementioned Taboo. The same is true with his signature jump jivin’ dedication to afternoon delight in track twelve – Sweet Lovin’.
This set would not have been complete without a sample from Jonny’s Ukulele period. The reflective Someone Like You, a take on the hit by pop superstar Adele, is an all-star from his album The Ukulele Experience: Volume One, that actually pre-dated a series of ukulele albums from other popular artists including Ukulele Songs from Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. The final cut on the album, Crossroads, takes us back to Blu’s beginning, when the young UCLA grad took his study of Mandarin Chinese to a singing competition, in Chinese, which led to a recording contract and Blu becoming the first Caucasian pop star in the Chinese pop music world as well as a spot in the film and gold selling soundtrack of Disney’s “Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement”.
All in all, Jonny Blu’s The Best Of Blu is going to be an awesome flashback for his longtime fans, and a “Ooh Wee” experience for those later arrivals to the musical world of Blu.
Full album liner notes by
Brad "Martini" Chambers (of www.MartiniInTheMorning.com)
About "The Best Of Blu"...
For over a decade, Jonny Blu has been electrifying audiences around the world with his Pop and Big-Band sounds. Now he's bringing it all together in his 5th studio album release, "The Best Of Blu"!
Jonny Blu’s music combines elements of Jazz, Big-Band and Adult Contemporary Pop. "The Best Of Blu" showcases the full range of Blu’s music and includes 14 full length songs, including brand new originals, like the first hit single "Let Go", along with popular jazz and big-band standards. Being a lover of languages, along with the English tracks, "The Best Of Blu" also features his song "Crossroads" in Mandarin Chinese (from his hit Chinese Pop album "On The Edge") and "Besame Mucho" in Spanish (from Blu's hit album "Taboo!").
"The Best Of Blu" is a must-have for any fans of Jonny Blu and a true find for any lovers of Big-Band Jazz and the standards of the Great American Songbook! If you enjoy artists like Michael Bublé, Harry Connick Jr. and Frank Sinatra, you'll love Jonny Blu!