I don’t have any children but I can easily find joy and pleasure in Lori Henriques‘ children’s album “How Great Can This Day Be” because there are lots of interesting influences and arrangements which put this work beyond the “for children only” niche.
The opening title track reminds me of the best Bob Dorough songs from the 60s. Lori also arranged the tune with catchy background vocals. The latin beat of “Groove” is another ear catcher and typical for the various styles and genres that are displayed here. Parents can playfully learn French with their kids on the chansonesque “Beau Paris” which features Lori’s eight year old son Leo on vocals and her brother Joel playing the saw. A nice treat!
Hendriques already has two successful children’s albums in her discography and some of her songs have earned her prestigious awards. And yet with her new album she is fully using her full jazz ensemble arrangements. On “Free Ride Everyday”, she is creating a 60s Blue Note kind of mood complete with bluesy trumpet courtesy by Ben Medler who is just one of a great cast of five musicians from the Portland, Oregon area.
I especially enjoyed the groovy “I Say Woo” because that’s exactly what you want to say when you’re “standing on your own two feet”. She explores primatology in the New Orleans-style “Monkey Monkey Monkey” and goes cabaret in “I Am Your Friend” (sung in duet with her husband, actor Matt Keeslar). The fact that Gina intensely listened to the whistle solo by Lori’s brother Joel also shows that this is an album for dogs, too!
The album closes with a lovely tribute to British anthropologist Jane Goodall (“Dream Jane Dream”) and the uplifting “Another Good Year” which is the perfect song to start into 2015. Nice one and recommended!