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Big Band Winsum: Swingin' Winsum

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Big–band dance music of the ’30s and ’40s, which is often known as swng but didn’t always do so, left its incubator in the U.S. to travel around the world and back, establishing a legacy that continues to this day in many countries overseas. Big Band Winsum, based in the Netherlands, is among the contemporary ensembles devoted to that special brand of music, and thanks to bassist Henk Spelberg we have in hand recorded evidence of its explicit point of view. The album title, Swingin’ Winsum, may lead one to believe that there are more fireworks exploding than is actually the case. This is not uncompromising swing but relatively subdued dance music whose more forceful ingredients are secondary and whose improvised passages are brief and rudimentary. The band’s vocalist, Jolanda Ensink, wages an heroic struggle with tempo, pitch and the English language on her three appearances (“Heart,” “For Once in My Life,” “Every Day I Have the Blues”). The band kicks hardest on several of the lesser–known numbers (“Mumbly Peg,” “Don’t Stop,” Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va,” the throbbing “YMCA”) but these are the exceptions. This is, for the most part, music written and designed for dancing, enfolding undecorated readings of such standards as “Opus One,” “Stardust,” “Tuxedo Junction,” “Mood Indigo” and “Little Brown Jug.” As such, it’s pretty good; Winsum clearly has some talent to amplify its earnest affection for the music. What’s most important is that these dedicated musicians from a far–away land are helping to keep the big–band tradition alive, and that’s one more small victory for decency and good taste.

Track listing: Opus One; The Casino Kid; Heart; Stardust; Mumbly Peg; Got My Mind Set on You; Tuxedo Junction; The Preacher; For Once in My Life; Don’t Stop; Oye Como Va; Mood Indigo; Little Brown Jug; Every Day I Have the Blues; YMCA (43:02).

Personnel:

Wim de Bos, director; Klaas Raangs, Eltjo Dijkstra, alto sax; John Vaneman, Juul Spelberg, tenor sax; Michael Haller, baritone sax; Ab Bruinings, Berend Klompsma, Nienke Blaauw, Jessica Bravenboer, Stiena Blaauw, trumpet; Klaas Wiersema, Jim Bijlstra, Henk Spelberg, Robert Jan Spelberg, trombone; Gert Bravenboer, piano; Meindert Mik, guitar; Chris Spelberg, Bas Hamer, bass; Jurgen Bakker, drums.

Contact: Henk Spelberg, Munsterweig 19, 9951 JA Winsum, The Netherlands (e

Record Label: BBW

Style: Big Band


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