Millhill Big Band: Everybody Dance!
Let us begin by acknowledging that what Finland’s Millhill Big Band does, it does exceedingly well. And what it does (for the most part) on Everybody Dance! is support vocalists Jay Day and Kari Fall (there are only two instrumental tracks, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and “As Time Goes By”). Millhill is, purely and simply, a band for those who wish to choose a partner and glide around the floor, and there’s scarcely a nod toward Jazz on the dance card. It’s a solid, well–rehearsed band (thanks to director Kimmo Leppälä), and is in all likelihood quite popular among the Finns. Much of its appeal, of course, rests on the shoulders (rather, in the vocal chords) of Day and Fall, and sad to report, the Day is long and dreary, the Fall colorless and boring. Again, they may be widely popular in Finland (I wouldn’t know) but the competition is far keener outside its borders. In other words, despite their best efforts, neither of these gentlemen is Joe Williams (or even Wayne Newton). Fall strives (without much success) to emulate Dean Martin, while Day is more the devil–may–care blues singer (but more R&B than blues, really). This relatively brief recording (playing time 38:14) is evidently designed to showcase their “talents,” but we’d prefer that the band itself were given an opportunity to play the starring role. Perhaps next time.
Track listing: All Right, OK, You Win; Hallelujah I Love Her So; One Mint Julep; Shake Your Tailfeather; I Left My Heart in San Francisco; Almost Like Being in Love; Just a Gigolo; Serenade in Blue; Pennies from Heaven; Sway; As Time Goes By (38:14).
Style: Big Band