Michael Torregano reaches deep into the American songbook, a favorite source of material for the New Orleans pianist. Folks with similar musical tastes are sure to know every tune and probably all the lyrics on For Your Ears Only. On this outing, Torregano also reminds us of his talents as a singer, or more accurately a jazz vocalist. He only sang one tune on 2015’s release, Doctor Jazz, though here he ups the ante and adds vocals to four tunes, including an interestingly arranged and delivered chestnut, “When My Dreamboat Comes Home.” It opens with the drums of Chris Guccione and the bass of Wilbur Thompson, who alternates on cuts with bassist Al Bernard, the only musician in the group who was also featured on Torregano’s previous album. “I think I’ll play my piano now,” says Torregano, who takes a long, rather funky solo complete with piano trills. Jamil Sharif’s trumpet takes it out struttin’.
The band is in its more typical swinging mode on another classic, “Almost Like Being in Love,” on which Torregano again reaches for the microphone. New Orleans steps in to take over on Thomas Henry Delaney’s 1921 tune, “Jazz Me Blues,” which has been recorded by a number of ensembles including the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Sharif’s trumpet is the star of the show on this one.
Torregano’s only solo piano piece is a wistful version of “Over the Rainbow” that he emotionally presents. For Your Ears Only, which ends with the lively “I Want to Be Happy,” should suit those who enjoy a sentimental journey down memory lane.