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Michael Gamble: And the Rhythm Serenaders

Jack Bowers By

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Michael Gamble: And the Rhythm Serenaders
Nothing deep or inscrutable here, simply good, clean, appetizing swing served with gusto by bassist Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders. While the size and makeup of the group varies from track to track, there's no doubt that everyone on the premises is in the proper frame of mind and fully attuned to Gamble's purpose, which is to leave the listener smiling broadly and tapping his or her toes.

The album was recorded at the Isis Music Hall in Asheville, NC (the label doesn't say in what year) during the annual Lindy Focus swing, dance and music festival, of which Gamble is the proprietor. As such, he was able to enlist some of the country's leading swing musicians to take part in the enterprise. Together they transport the listener to an earlier time when swing truly was king, presenting a variety of music that intertwines Swing Era staples with a number of original compositions that convey the spirit of the time.

Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Charlie Christian, Sweets Edison, Ben Webster and Roy Eldridge are represented, as are Gus Kahn, Al Jolson, Irving Berlin, Bert Kalmar / Harry Ruby and Jerome Kern. Holiday's "Fine and Mellow" is sung by Laura Windley, as are "Back in Your Own Back Yard," Berlin's seldom-heard but charming "He Ain't Got Rhythm" and "What a Night, What a Moon, What a Boy," and there are vocals by drummer-turned-singer Russ Wilson on "There'll Be Some Changes Made" and "Who's Sorry Now." They're fine, comparable to what one might have heard from band singers during the actual Swing Era.

The rest of the sidemen are similarly efficient. Gamble and clarinetist / saxophonist Keenan McKenzie perform on every number while the others alternate: drummers Wilson and Josh Collazo, trumpeters Gordon Au and Noah Hocker, pianists Craig Gildner and James Posedel. Guitarist Jonathan Stout plays on all but two tracks, rhythm guitarist Brooks Prumo on ten, while Paul Cosentino doubles the size of the reed section on a dozen. Swing bands had soloists too, and the Serenaders are no exception, with brief but engaging statements along the way by trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, guitar and piano. As noted, everyone is having a grand old time, and so should those who tune in to the Rhythm Serenaders.

Track Listing

Back in Your Own Back Yard; I Never Knew; Slidin’ and Glidin’; Seven Come Eleven; Pick-a-Rib; A Mellow Bit of Rhythm; Sweets; There’ll Be Some Changes Made; Fine and Mellow; Bug in a Rug; He Ain’t Got Rhythm; Who’s Sorry Now; Woke Up Clipped; Rose Room; What a Night, What a Moon, What a Boy; Crazy About Lester; Scottie; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

Personnel

Michael Gamble: leader, bass; Gordon Au: trumpet (1, 2, 5, 6, 9-11, 13-15); Noah Hocker: trumpet (3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 16-18); Keenan McKenzie: clarinet, reeds; Paul Cosentino: clarinet, reeds (2, 3, 6, 8-13, 15, 16); Lucian Cobb: trombone (1, 6, 10, 13, 15); David Wilken: trombone (3, 8, 12, 16); Jonathan Stout: guitar (1-10, 12, 14-18); Brooks Prumo: rhythm guitar (1, 2, 5, 6, 9-11, 13-15); Craig Gildner: piano (1, 2, 5, 6, 9-11, 13-15); James Posedel: piano (3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 16-18); Josh Collazo: drums (3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 16-18); Russ Wilson: drums (1, 2, 5, 6, 9-11, 13-15), vocals (8, 12); Laura Windley: vocals (1, 9, 11, 15).

Album information

Title: And the Rhythm Serenaders | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Origin Records

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