How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
With a hand picked group of musicians, trombonist and arranger Dan Barrett’s Blue Swing debuts an outstanding swing band with the ever charming Rebecca Kilgore on vocals. Barrett has become a bit of a blue chip presence in the swing music world. Not only is he an excellent trombonist, but he is also a consistently interesting arranger with a sense of style.
Rebecca Kilgore is in top form on "Can This Be Love?" She is silky sweet. She also does a good job with the corny lyrics of "Christopher Columbus." Her weakness for the slight and cute seems to have descended to new levels with Leiber & Stoller’s "Love Potion #9" and Laura Nyro’s "Wedding Bell Blues." At times, it seems this tremendously talented jazz singer is intent on singing high wire acts above the most dubious material. With an unerring sense of phrasing and rhythm, it is always a perverse thrill of sorts to hear her pull the rabbit out of the hat - she consistently does, high wire and all. The band accompanies Kilgore beautifully.
"Russian Rag" is a showpiece for some of the band’s strongest soloists. After the opening Brian Ogilvie clarinet statement, the music slides into low-key, classy Barrett trombone solo then into a fiery trumpet solo by Jon-Erik Kellso. Ogilvie returns as the music shifts into an extended New Orleans exchange at the end.
This is a band that plays with ease and assurance with a wide range of resources, from the opening swing track "Victory Stride" to the Bigard/Ellington "Saturday Night Function" to Django Reinhardt/Jacques Larue "Nuages." Their bluesy "Ray’s Waltz" is one of the highlights of a stylistically diverse recording. Without a doubt I’ll be looking forward to this band’s next recording: a talented bunch, this Blue Swing.
Track Listing: Victory Stride; Saturday Night Function; Christopher Columbus; Can This Be Love?;Russian Rag; Love Potion #9; Wedding Bell Blues; Ray's Waltz; Song of the Wanderer; Nuages; C'est Si Bon; Saratoga Shout; I Can't Face the Music; I Never Knew. (71:50)
Personnel: Dan Barrett, trombone; Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Brian Oglivie, clarinet & tenor sax; John Smith, soprano and alto sax; Eddie Erickson, guitar, banjo; Joel Forbes, string bass; Ray Sherman, piano; Jeff Hamilton, drums; Rebecca Kilgore, vocals.