Band leader Don Neely has been mining nuggets from syncopated jazz, 1920 style, and 1930's big band music then releasing them on albums featuring his Royal Society Jazz Orchestra} for more than 20 years. His latest, Jump Start
, continues in that vein, but has the added attraction of including for a change, some Neely compositions. Among his four tunes is the title tune "Jump Star" with clever drumming by Steve Apple. This and the other Neely originals like "Record Hop" recreate 1920 vintage music popularized by the likes of Paul Whiteman, Red Nichols, Fats Waller and Rudy Vallee. Neely is also the band's boy singer. As he sings, one can almost see the megaphone singers of this era used to project and sometimes exaggerate, their voice as on "When I Dance with You". On others, he adopts a Fats Waller affectation.
The girl singer, Carla Normand, is on several tracks. The most notable of her warbling comes with "Why Don't You Do Right?", "Somebody Loves Me" and "Goody Goody". She affects that little girl, wide-eyed ingenue tone in her voice which was so popular in the 1920's. The band takes care of most all of the cuts honoring swing, 1930's edition. There is some fine instrumental playing and solos on Jan Savitt's "720 in the Books", "Sweet Georgia Brown" and Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing" carved into the annals of big band jazz by Benny Goodman. All the major instruments from this period are included, even a theremin, an instrument that is played without being touched.
All the musicians in this group are masters of both these musical styles and of their instruments. The arrangements faithfully replications without imitations as played by white jazz musicians during this part of the 20th Century. You will not hear any Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong or Fletcher Henderson orchestrations here. Nonetheless, this album is entertaining fun and is recommended.
Personnel: Don Neely - Tenor, Soprano & Alto Sax/Clarinet/Vocals/Leader; Carla Normand - Vocals; Dick Mathias, Nik Phelps - Alto Sax/Clarinet; Andrew Storar - Trumpet; Kent Mikasa - Trombone; Seth Asarnow - Piano/Vibraphone/Theremin; Marty Eggers - Bass; Steve Apple - Drums; Dix Bruce - Guitar/Banjo