— Brenton Plourde, Jazz Review
“There is nothing wrong with a little bit of Tony Bennett. Vocalist Russ Lorenson is proof that a little bit of Bennett can really do a lot.
The combination of “Come Fly With Me and Let’s Get Away From It All” is irresistible. Lorenson is not just a crooner covering the traditional Sinatra style or trying to be the next Connick, he is his own man.
Lorenson’s baritone is almost like an instrument. Its richness combined with his vocal phrasing is impeccable. What really works is his ability to take two songs and make them into one. “A Foggy Day (In London Town)” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” is a prime example. Lorenson paces and phrases this beautifully.
What could be the best track on the album is a song from the 1982 broadway play Victor/Victoria titled “Gay Paree.” The Mancini composed with Leslie Bricusee added lyrics, Russ Lorenson has a sure fire winner here.
Finally we have “Christmas in San Francisco.” Do not imagine Sinatra singing this. Do not imagine Connick singing this. Russ Lorenson closes out his A Little Travelin’ Music album with this one that can be played year round.
Russ Lorenson has a little travelin’ music. Actually he has some stay at home music. This album is a great album to put on when you feel like a little Sinatra or Connick in the afternoon, a little bit of travelin’ music, yes, but you may want to stay home and just listen.”
— Lee Hartgrave, BeyondChron.org
“On the album are some of the greatest Standards in musical history – “Come Fly With Me”, “Let’s Get Away From it All”, “Moon Light In Vermont” and “I Love Paris.” There are many more wonderful songs in this great feel-good package, some with duets with Shawn Ryan and Klea Blackhurst. Not only does Lorenson have the soul of the greats –Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and other dream crooners of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s – he has the Kelly Park band with him to really bring those decades to life. With Kelly Park on piano is Reid Whatley on Bass, Adam Goodhue on Drums and the absolutely fantastic Tony Malfatti who plays Sax, Clarinet and flute. Not only does he play them – he twists and turns each note as if he were entwining us with come hither sounds. No wonder the audience was jumping up and down – their seats were on fire.
Lorenson calls this CD “A Little Travelin’ Music” – for good reason. Since he is singing songs so identified with such famous voices – he has to show that he still can bring something fresh to them. Lorenson has done that and more. He has worked amazing, sometimes quirky arrangements of these almost lost gems. Rarely do we hear any of them sung anymore – so, this makes the CD and hearing him in person a really delightful treat.”
— Rob Lester, TalkinBroadway.com
“For this musical trip around the world, Russ Lorenson makes a pretty good host and traveling companion. The inspiration for A Little Travelin’ Music (also the name of his cabaret show) is that he had a long career away from music and it involved journeys to various far-flung places. Russ hasn’t logged too many frequent flyer miles as a cabaret singer yet, and he’s still finding his way and his style. He has come up with a CD that has engaging moments, personality and musicality. More than anything, there is a desire to entertain and a likeability factor that will win points and fans. I enjoyed his act in person when he came to New York from San Francisco where he is based, also working in musical theater. You can both see and hear him in clips on his website, www.russlorenson.com.
Collections of songs about the joys and sights of different spots in the world have come out over the years from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Pearl Bailey, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, and last but most probably least, The Chipmunks. Russ makes some of the same stops, such as “I Love Paris” and “Come Fly With Me,” two that are sung with ebullience but could use more originality to make them more convincing and engaging. Some of the more impressive presentations are the more sincere ones, where he just relaxes and sings. I like his “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” heard here in combination with “A Foggy Day (in London Town).” Likewise, “Christmas in San Francisco” is evocative and warmly nostalgic, with the singer doing honor to his home.
Russ kibbitzes and clowns on two duets with talented singing friends. He and Shawn Ryan have a ball with Noel Coward’s wickedly sarcastic “Why Do the Wrong People Travel?” as they bemoan the habits of tourists. The ever-delightful Klea Blackhurst is on board for “A Slow Boat to China” with her spunk and brassy voice bringing up the energy level. The many side comments and quips on both tracks would be more appropriate and thus funnier in a live situation, feeling a little forced on a recording. But both guests are fun to hear as is the camaraderie.
Pianist Kelly Park leads a jazz band and these arrangements have flair and provide a solid and tasty backing that often cooks and kicks. Russ works hard with a good spirit and congeniality that come through and inform his work. He’s also determined to entertain, perhaps best illustrated by his “Rhode Island Is Famous for You” (Schwartz/ Dietz) where he charms by adopting the accents of people in the various U.S. states mentioned in the lyrics as he sings them. He loves what he’s doing and it becomes quite infectious.”
Russ Lorenson has established a reputation as one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading interpreters of jazz standards, with a sound and approach that place him at the intersection of Broadway, jazz, and pop – the very essence of…