Darren is perhaps best-known as the actor who played
Moondoggie in the original Gidget, and more recently the character
of Vic Fontaine in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Concurrently with his
acting career, he spent the '70s doing nightclubs in Vegas, Reno,
and Tahoe and fairs around the country as a popular crooner.
On this appealing collection featuring classic songs from various
eras and shimmering, jazzy big-band arrangements by Patrick
Williams, Darren follows in the footsteps of his idols Frank Sinatra
and Tony Bennett. Not surprisingly, he recorded the 14 tracks at the
Capitol studios where Ol' Blue Eyes did some of his most famous
work. Darren has an easy, Bennett-like voice -- instantly likeable,
rich, and emotionally resonant. So, with solid vocals and one of the
best arrangers in the business, the only wild card would be choice
of material -- and it's spectacular. He opens with a perky take on
Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things," then digs into the
catalogs of Leslie Bricusse (the playful "My Kind of Girl"), Oscar
Levant ("Blame It on My Youth"), and, of course, joyful songs that
Bennett popularized like "Because of You" and "Good Life." On the
opposite side emotionally, he tackles "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
with a slight Brazilian-flavored arrangement. Darren also has a
great time turning pop classics like "More Today Than Yesterday" and
"Can't Take My Eyes Off You" into jazzy songs that sound like they
were written a generation before they were.
The set closes with a charming jazz trio take on "Dream a Little
Dream of Me," which won't make you forget Mama Cass but is
nevertheless engaging. Darren hardly crafts a crooning style of his
own, preferring to go after the warm familiarity of his idols.
Still, in its own way, Because of You is pretty irresistible.
Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide