Beginning with the irresistible, headlong groove of the first track, Back in the Swing of Things
is yet another jubliant, world-class outing from the Clayton Brothers Quintet. The joyride begins with the irresistible groove of the first track and takes the listener through a bright landscape of originals, including two short, witty solo comments by each brother and one intriguing composition by John's son Gerald, whose own star has been rising rapidly. Whatever the tempo or mood, with this consummate collection of musicians, each track gleams and sparkles; you know that Bill Cunliffe and Jeff Hamilton will deliver precisely the right colors to pique the imagination and keep the pulse racing.
It's always difficult to pick favorites out of a Clayton Brothers bouquet, given their well-deserved reputation for consistent excellence, but especially vaulting moments include the languid beauty of "Ultra Sensitive" and "Next Time"; the bounce of the title track, with its delicious interlude of sax and trumpet hide-and-seek; the incredibly soulful, crystalline playing of Terell Stafford; and John's deep and velvety solo version of "Round Midnight."
It's easy to enjoy this open-hearted musical celebration; what's difficult is understanding the title"Back in the Swing of Things"since the Clayton Brothers have never stopped swinging. And long may they wave!
Personnel: John Clayton: bass; Jeff Clayton: alto saxophone, flute; Terell Stafford: trumpet; Bill
Cunliffe: piano; Gerald Clayton: piano (1,14); Anthony Wilson: guitar (5); Jeff Hamilton: