Britisher Danny Moss and long time side kick, Roy Williams, with their group carry on in the tradition of small group swing recalling those great combos led by John Kirby, Charlie Shavers, Benny Carter, Buck Clayton and many, many others. The Moss/Williams quintet takes us on a stroll through 13 tunes, all but two of them oft-heard standards. The other two tracks, Johnny Hodges' "Hiya" and Duke Ellington's "Blues to Be". The Ellington tune is from his and Billy Strayhorn's "Newport Suite" which they prepared for the 1958 edition of that festival. Moss, until he retired, was a mainstay of the British jazz scene since the 1950's and has performed with many US jazzers when they visited that part of the world. His approach to the tenor sax has been influenced by the likes of Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. The co-leader of the Quintet, trombonist, Roy Williams, is also a jazz veteran starting his professional career in 1960, and over the years has developed a reputation as an unsurpassed sight reader. His trombone recalls the great ones, Carl Fontana, Frank Rosolino and Lawrence Brown. The other members of the quintet, John Pearce on piano, Len Skeat on bass and Charly Antolini on drums have the task of backing Moss and Williams, which they do with fervor and skill.
There's nothing earth shattering on this disk, nor do I suspect was there any intention that there should be. The album features comfortable and versatile playing in slow, medium and up tempos for the ensemble work and for Moss' and Williams' solos. Pearce and Skeat are given the opportunity to showcase their wares on a pleasant medium tempo "You're My Everything". "Isn't It Romantic" features Williams playing trombone in the style of Frank Rosolino. Danny Moss' tenor turns sultry and the Williams trombone assumes a languid tone on a very slowly navigated "L'il Darlin'". "Just in Time"," I've Found a New Baby" and "There Is No Greater Love" are given a spirited, but not frantic, reading. Moss and Williams combine for a moving version of "Mood Indigo". They kick off the tune together and then each takes an extended solo with some knowledgeable and sophisticated improvisions on the theme of this lovely tune.
Steamers! is an album you'll pull out after a hard day at the office, on the freeway or when entertaining in an intimate setting. This one is recommended.
Tracks:Just in Time; It's Alright with Me; Them There Eyes; Too Late Now;It's A Wonderful World; Li'l Darlin';You're My Everything; Isn't It Romantic;There Is No Greater Love;Mood Indigo;Hiya;Blues to Be There; I've Found a New Baby