The Rosenthals | Fly Away

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Fly Away

by The Rosenthals

A gracefully captivating album melding jazz and bluegrass by father-and-son musical partners, Phil and Daniel Rosenthal.
Genre: Country: Americana
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  Song Share Time Download
1. This Rainy Afternoon
3:00 $0.99
2. I'll Fly Away
3:17 $0.99
3. Single Again
3:44 $0.99
4. Since I Met Her
3:14 $0.99
5. Masquerade Ball
3:33 $0.99
6. Dreamed Last Night
4:34 $0.99
7. Relaxed
3:20 $0.99
8. Pretty Polly
3:24 $0.99
9. Sunlight On the Garden
3:39 $0.99
10. Over the Mountain
2:59 $0.99
11. Little Birdie
3:14 $0.99
12. Dirt Farmer
3:36 $0.99
13. We'll Talk Tomorrow
3:54 $0.99
14. Waitin' On Down the Line
2:27 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
While bluegrass and jazz are often cast as cultural opposites, Phil and Daniel Rosenthal have uncovered fertile common ground melding these two quintessential American styles on Fly Away, a gracefully captivating album by a singular musical clan.

Trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal grew up playing folk music in the family band led by his father, acclaimed vocalist, songwriter, and bluegrass string player Phil Rosenthal, but he didn’t follow in his dad’s footsteps. Instead, he poured his creative energy into jazz, becoming a key member of Boston’s celebrated Either/Orchestra.

On their first recording collaboration, Fly Away, The Rosenthals explore a program of richly evocative original songs and traditional tunes. Arranged and produced by Daniel, who infuses the music with an unmistakable jazz sensibility, the album showcases Phil’s wondrously warm voice, a burnished Johnny Cash baritone that resonates with emotional authority.

Five of 14 tracks on Fly Away are traditional numbers, including the jaunty rendition of the title track “I’ll Fly Away,” which features subtle harmony vocals by Daniel’s mother Beth Sommers. The haunting version of “Pretty Polly” gives a good sense of what Phil and Daniel sound like as a duo, while the Dixieland-tinged “Single Again” is very much a studio creation, with Daniel contributing bass and adding original lyrics to the traditional tune, which also features some graceful polyphony abetted by Rick Stone’s alto saxophone (Mike Connors’s “tap dance” drum and percussion break is also inspired).

Working in his father’s home studio allowed Daniel to polish each tune and add exactly what was needed to adapt it for Phil. On “Over the Mountain” Daniel adds trumpet, bass, and harmony vocals, while his sister Naomi Sommers contributes harmonies to their father’s lead vocals, guitar, mandola, and tenor banjo, turning the 19th-century Irish poet William Scanlon’s lament into an irresistible drinking song.

On most of the original tunes Daniel added music to lyrics written and largely abandoned by Phil some three decades ago (around the time his son was born). Given a blank musical slate, Daniel revels in creating offbeat settings for his father’s world-weary voice, like the mysterious Tom Waitsian tango on “Masquerade Ball,” or the rock-inflected beat for “Sunlight on the Garden.”

Phil Rosenthal is a nationally renowned singer, songwriter, recording artist and record producer best known for his long run as lead singer and guitarist in the popular bluegrass group The Seldom Scene. He is also highly respected for his instrumental skills on banjo and mandolin.

A Connecticut native, Phil began his professional career in the 1970s as mandolin player and singer in the New England–based bluegrass bands Apple Country and Old Dog. He joined The Seldom Scene in 1977, touring internationally with the group and making numerous high profile appearances, including at the Grand Ole Opry and the White House. He recorded seven albums with the band, earning a Grammy nomination for his work on Scene 20.

Phil’s songs have also traveled far outside the family circle. He’s written several tunes that have been widely recorded, most importantly “Muddy Water,” a song covered by Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, and Nick Cave, among many others. In 1994, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts appointed him the official Connecticut State Troubadour.

Daniel Rosenthal grew up in Guilford, Connecticut, the jazz sheep in a family of folk and bluegrass musicians. In addition to his illustrious father, his mother is a bassist, and his sister is a singer/songwriter. Somehow he gravitated to the trumpet and figured out ways to fit the horn into the family ensemble. Inspired by recordings of Louis Armstrong, he blossomed in a middle school community jazz band led by Reed Garrett, who turned him on to Ellington, Basie, Goodman, Krupa, and Shaw. By 13, he and two Garrett bandmates started gigging as a trio (trumpet, organ, and drums), playing traditional jazz at restaurants and coffeehouses.

In high school he developed far more modern tastes, absorbing the trumpet lineage from Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, and Clifford Brown to Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Don Cherry. He found particular inspiration in the spacious approach of Kenny Wheeler. Drawn to New England Conservatory by the heavyweight faculty, he studied with soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, trombonist/arranger Bob Brookmeyer, and Charles Schlueter, principal trumpeter for the Boston Symphony. Another NEC professor, guitarist Joe Morris, expanded his contact with the avant-garde scene.

By the time he joined Either/Orchestra for a Scandinavian tour in 2006, Rosenthal was well prepared to tackle the band’s challenging, stylistically polyglot book. With its Latin American percussion section, arresting repertoire of Ethiopian jazz compositions, and expansive book of intricate original pieces and jazz standards, the Either/Orchestra demands that a player develop a vast array of improvisational resources, and Rosenthal contributed significantly to E/O’s critically acclaimed 2010 album Mood Music for Time Travellers. The E/O connection also led to his participation on Mulatu Steps Out by pianist, composer, and Ethiopian jazz legend Mulatu Atstatke.

Daniel made an impressive debut as a bandleader with 2011’s Lines (American Melody), a project focusing on his original compositions and featuring highly lyrical alto saxophonist Rick Stone, bassist Kendall Eddy, and texturally acute drummer Austin McMahon. While highly influenced by Steve Lacy and Ornette Coleman, Daniel maintained a connection to his bluegrass roots via four pieces featuring Joy Kills Sorrow banjo master Wes Corbett, a sound that anticipated the Fly Away collaboration with his father.

With Fly Away, Phil and Daniel Rosenthal renew the family’s musical bonds, creating an earthy and sophisticated sound informed by the mother wit of Appalachia and the street smarts of New Orleans and Gotham’s 52nd Street.



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