Arthur Prysock (born January 2nd 1929 in Spartanburg, South Carolina) had a long and varied career as a vocalist of high repute, lending his velvet baritone to jazz, blues, R&B, pop and disco, having been inspired by his musical hero Billy Eckstine.
After critically-lauded projects with trumpeter Paolo Fresu (Chiaroscuro) and with fellow guitarists Wolfgang Muthspiel and Slava Grigoryan (Travel Guide), Ralph Towner returns to solo guitar for My Foolish Heart. Whether on classical guitar or 12-string guitar Towner’s touch is immediately identifiable. Solo music is an important thread through his rich discography and this new album – recorded at Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI in February 2016 and produced by Manfred Eicher – follows in the great tradition of Diary, Solo Concert, Ana, Anthem, and Time Line. It features finely-honed new compositions as well as a pair of tunes (“Shard” and “Rewind”) from the songbook of Oregon, a dedication to the late Paul Bley (“Blue As In Bley”) and a single standard – Victor Young’s “My Foolish Heart” which Towner first came to love in Bill Evans’s interpretation.
Eddie Henderson's lovely flugelhorn colors the opening track, "E Preciso Perdoar (One Must Forgive)," setting the mood for a very mellow set. Washington, accompanied by six pieces, plays the standards straighter than Johnny Mathis sings them; everything is ratcheted down '40s-ish/'50s-ish cozy nightclub style.
After a long absence, Mary Jane visits her schoolfriend Eloise, and Eloise's daughter Ramona. Eloise drinks too much and is unhappily married to Lew Wengler. Eloise falls asleep and remembers her time with her true love, Walt Dreiser, at the beginning of the Second World War. She recalls the events that lead up to her split with Mary Jane, and how Lew married Eloise rather than Mary Jane.