Making It Through
You want to talk cross-generational appeal? Dreamy-eyed, blue-moon-voiced Stuart Ambrose will appeal to your sister, your mother and your grandmother. Like Michael Buble, Ambrose is haunted by a different kind of pop singer, leaning way back to the heyday of the crooners. While many young male vocalists are trying to be the next John Mayer or Jack Johnson, Ambrose’s iconic figures seem to be Perry Como, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.
As one would expect from those seeming influences, this is a really mellow, laid back album. Only on “Love Is the Power,” a duet with Cicily Daniels, does the rhythmic pulse of the record truly kick in. However, the slow-paced arrangements highlight the various shapes and sizes of Ambrose’s vocal range. On “Destiny,” Ambrose’s voice is soft as pillow kisses; on “Free Me,” he really lets it loose, his vocals reaching exhilarating emotional peaks.
Ambrose’s musicians give the album a tasteful classic jazz touch. In fact, sometimes it is too tasteful. If any criticism is to be made of this record, it’s that the backing music isn’t always as strong as Ambrose’s voice. There are moments when it is too subtle for such a powerhouse singer.
But then again you don’t listen to a CD like this for the instrumentation. The focus here is on Ambrose’s vocals — and they are dynamite.
Stuart Ambrose: www.stuartambrose.com