In the tradition of smooth, lyrical ballad players supreme like Tommy Dorsey or Jack Jenny comes Alan Kaplan with a program of 15 songs, 13 of them played with a lush string background provided by a bevy of conductors/arrangers such as Joe Curiale, the inimitable Russ Garcia, Bill Cunliffe, Tom Ranier, and Steven Bernstein. In addition, there are two bonus tracks scored for a variety of trombones and other brass instruments, much as in the trombone octet days of Urbie Green, with Kaplan playing all the trombones. Long a West Coast studio player sitting in orchestras that provided music for The Simpsons and Star Trek and backed up Barbra Streisand, Kaplan puts his trombone virtuosity on the line with this album of favorite standards. Recorded over a period of five years with some of the premier studio players in Los Angeles, Lonely Town brings back the notion of the romantic trombone, complete with swelling strings providing the cushion for Kaplan. Now and then, one hears deep in the background the jingling of the pianos of Ranier or Christian Jacob or the soft pierce of the oboe, the soothing English Horn, the flute, or the clarinet, giving the group body and dynamics. But when matched against a large group of violins, violas, and cellos, clearly their role is secondary. But even against the strings, it is Kaplan‘s highly stylized and quixotic trombone that takes the day. It’s all very pretty, precious, and pleasant, and sometimes reflective. Recommended for when the psyche cries out for an hour of out-and-out lovely music, lovingly played.