Who knows how the French salon got stretched into the North American saloon, and an intimate gathering place for artists and writers became the hangout for a bunch of drunken cowboys. Rest assured, jazz vocalist Joe Coughlin’s new album Saloon Standard, recorded with Toronto pianist Mark Eisenman, has more to do with salons than saloons.
After all, the standards of the Great American Songbook are closer to art songs than to the achy-breaky love tunes that get lapped up in bars, particularly as performed here with only voice and piano.
But stuffy and high-falutin’ they ain’t.
These are relaxed, intimate songs for savouring late at night when the world is quiet and the only thing between you and the performers is your stereo, your heart and your ears.
A veteran of seven albums, two National Jazz awards and over thirty years of performing, Coughlin has long dreamed of recording this album with Eisenman.
Jazz legend Don Thompson brought them together in Toronto when they were in their twenties. They’ve enjoyed each other’s company ever since, performing first as a duo, then in trios, quartets, and most recently with a sixty-piece
Tony Bennett and Bill Evans set the standard for the jazz vocal/piano duo album in the mid-seventies. Coughlin and Eisenman have drawn inspiration from their work but have made the material their own.
So grab a glass of wine, sit back in your salon (or saloon), and enjoy.