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Aaron Weinstein: A Handful of Stars (2006)

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Aaron Weinstein: A Handful of Stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Nineteen-year-old violinist Aaron Weinstein makes an impressive debut as a leader with this session of swinging jazz. His approach to his instrument is closest to that of Joe Venuti, though he tends to start each selection rather conservatively before loosening up and interacting with his seasoned rhythm section of Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), Nicki Parrott (bass) and Joe Ascione (drums). John Pizzarelli (guitar, vocals) is added on four tracks.

But Weinstein doesn't stick exclusively to well-known repertoire; his lyrical take of "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes (from the 1949 film Cinderella), the brisk treatment of Jimmy Mundy's "Swingtime in the Rockies (in which he overdubs multiple violins, giving it more of a Bob Willis flavor), and a snappy arrangement of Neal Hefti's "Dinner With Friends (adding guest Houston Person on tenor sax) are examples of uncommon fare worth reviving.

Weinstein's best solo appears in the fluid arrangement of "Dark Eyes, complemented by features for the senior Pizzarelli, Person and Parrott, with Ascione switching to playing hand percussion on a West African djembe drum. The fun concludes with a lengthy jam of "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me in which Weinstein shows the humorous influence of Stuff Smith.


Track Listing: After You've Gone; A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes; Samba de Orpheu; A Handful of Stars; Swingtime in the Rockies; Let's Get Lost; Dark Eyes; Someone to Watch Over Me; If Dreams Come True; Pennies from Heaven; Dinner with Friends; Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me.

Personnel: Aaron Weinstein: violin; Bucky Pizzarelli: electric guitar; John Pizzarelli: electric guitar, vocals; Houston Person: tenor saxophone; Nicki Parrott: bass; Joe Ascione: drums.

Record Label: Arbors Records

Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing


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