How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Some album titles so accurately describe the contents that there's almost nothing meaningful that a poor review can say about it. Such is the case with Swingtime!, wherein what is advertised is precisely what one getsa baker's dozen of inflexibly swinging sorties by trumpeter Warren Vaché and his New York City AllStar Big Band (underweight division). The band includes only two trumpets (Vaché and Randy Reinhart), two trombones, four saxophones and rhythm, but after listening for a few moments you won't care about that, as these gentlemen more than compensate for fewness of numbers by pouring their heart and soul into every note on the page. Mind you, this isn't "contemporary" Jazzno one is trying to plant fresh seeds or set new standardsbut sure as the sunrise, it does swing! A large measure of credit for that must go to the intrepid rhythm section, anchored by drummer Jake Hanna and crowned by Steve Ash's tasteful piano and Murray Wall's walking bass. But everyone has a hand in making this engine go, and the band's consistently sparkling section work is complemented by emphatic solos from Vaché, Ash, tenors Rickey Woodard and Harry Allen, trombonist John Allred and clarinetist / baritone Alan Barnes, each of whom has technique and resourcefulness to burn. Besides playing sublime trumpet, Vaché discloses solid albeit unpolished vocal talent on "I've Got My Fingers Crossed," "Saturday Night Fish Fry" and "Let the Good Times Roll." Swingtime! reminds me of another superb NagelHeyer album released some five years ago, The Buck Clayton Swing Band Live from Greenwich Village, on which Vaché also played. Clayton's band was larger (16 members) but the payoff was about the samepure, unvarnished swing from first note to last. If swing's your bag, open this one for a bushelful of pleasure.