How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Ed Polcer is a consistently creative cornetist who has a knack for putting together first- rate bands. His playing and generous spirit are part of what makes At the Ball such an appealing recording.
Polcer is joined on the marquee by Scotland born soprano saxophonist Jim Galloway as the Ed Polcer - Jim Galloway Big Five. Both Polcer and Galloway are well known pros in the dixie/swing world. Both also compliment each other musically, demonstrating a fine, vigorous rapport throughout. The tone combination of cornet and soprano sax is a treat especially during their intertwining solos and rapid exchanges. The third "old pro" of the group, Dick Waldburger on bass, is the solid ground beat of all the action. His rapport with his fellow rhythm section players is a highlight of the session.
The youngsters of the group, Mark Shane on piano, and Joe Ascione on drums, are outstanding. Ascione is one of the most exciting drummers of the traditional jazz world. His solos are concise and intense, and his accompaniment is persistently imaginative. Check out his solo work on "This Can't Be Love." Few drummers have the combination of taste and touch that Ascione routinely displays.
Mark Shane has become so good of an accompanist and soloist that it's easy to take him for granted. He's a team player who often sets everyone else up with a subtle solo, and then provides intricately swinging comping that brings out the best in everyone. This is exactly what happens on "Doin' The New Low Down." This tune is also as interesting for Polcer's and Galloway's soloing as it is for the interaction of Shane & Ascione & Waldburger. Take a careful listen to Shane's highly intuitive rapport with Polcer on full display throughout their duet on Hoagy Carmichael's poignant composition "Judy."
Ah, to sit back and listen to a fine band play a long line-up of great old tunes - what more could a jazz fan want? At the Ball fits the bill, and is highly recommended.
Track Listing: At the Ball; Look For the Silver Lining; Song of the Wanderer; I Cried For You; Tishomingo Blues; Seems Like Old Times; Doin? The New Low Down; Judy; This Can?t Be Love; Of All The Wrongs You?ve Done To Me; Roses Of Picardy; Too Late Now; When My Dream Boat Comes Home (73:25).
Personnel: Ed Polcer, cornet; Jim Galloway, soprano sax; Mark Shane, piano; Dick Waldburger, bass; and Joe Ascione, drums.
Jazzology Records, 1206 Decatur Street, New Orleans, Lousiana, 70116.