This Nagel-Heyer release captures a live performance in October of 1995. International is the appropriate descriptor for this group. The countries represented on the band stand that night in Hamburg, Germany were the United States, Sweden, England and Italy. Nonetheless, they captured the excitement and vitality of jazz music that knows no borders. While this session was set up to honor the King of small group performances, there is no attempt to imitate Goodman's style or even all the arrangements he used.
The major protagonist on this set is reedman Ken Peplowski. His "Did I Remember" is done in the typical relaxed, manner which characterizes his clarinet. He's joined by long time Concord Jazz soul mate, under appreciated guitarist Howard Alden. "You" features the use of all the piano hands of Mark Shane and effervescent vibes of Lars Erstrand. One of the highlights of this very good album is the guest appearance of clarinetists Allan Vaché and Antti Sarpila on a medley of tunes that Goodman is especially associated with, "Memories of You", "Poor Butterfly" and "Moonglow" and the last cut, "After You've Gone". The appearance of three clarinet players on the same stage together is a sight that is rarely seen during these days of sax domination. The way this trio feeds off each other on "After You've Gone" brought down the house judging from the shouts and huzzahs coming from the CD. Although he does most of his work on clarinet, Peplowski unpacks his tenor for the lengthy, lovely "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me".
The reeds are ably backed by a top flight rhythm section who are treated as equals on this session. In addition to Shane and Alden, Joe Ascione, who has emerged as one of the most sought after drummers on today's scene, as well as a leader in his own right, drives this group as well as Gene Krupa ever did for Goodman. Bassist Len Skeat and Erstrand's vibes are constantly in evidence as part of the ensemble and in solo. Nagel-Heyer continues to bring prime studio and live jazz to disk for which they have earned the gratitude of fans of good jazz everywhere. This album is no exception to the high standards this record company has set for itself. It's 62 minutes of hot, pulsating swing music, with a couple of ballads mixed in, in the Goodman tradition, and is recommended.
Personnel: Ken Peplowski - Clarinet/Tenor Sax; Lars Erstrand - Vibes; Howard Alden - Guitar; Mark Shane - Piano; Len Skeat - Bass; Joe Ascione - Drums; Antti Sarpila - Clarinet Allan Vach