The Johnny Nocturne Band: Nothin' Wild & Cool
The Johnny Nocturne Band is a nine-piece swing outfit from the San Francisco Bay area led by Alaska native and tenor saxman John Firmin. A horn-driven group, the Nocturne Band also features smooth singer Brenda Boykin, a jazzy crooner with a deep, full voice. Wild & Cool is sophisticated, swingin' and fun.
These musicians are well-schooled jazzers, and the vibe is right out of the late '40s, early '50s. This group straddles the line between bop, swing and blues, and the hornmen lead the way. Firmin, Marty Wehner (trombone), Bill Ortiz (trumpet) and Rod Sudduth (baritone sax) are all strong improvisers. Favorites include a remake of Big Maybelle's "New Kind of Mambo," the rocking "At My Front Door," the Count Basie-ish "Cha-bootie," and silky covers of Lyle Lovett's "A Pound of Blues" and "After the Lights Go Down Low."
San Francisco seems to be a Mecca for the new swing revival, and The Johnny Nocturne Band is one of that city's finest groups.