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Dan Levinson and His Canary Cottage Dance Orchestra: Crinoline Days

Elliott Simon By

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In 1917, as Russians revolted against the Tsar and the US entered into World War I, the first jazz records, recorded right here in NYC, turned so-called legitimate music on its ear. People danced to the "new music and the national craze that would come to be known as the "Jazz Age was born. That same year, saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft and his Frisco Jazz band wowed NYC society with their hot sophisticated sound at the Winter Garden Theatre's chic club, Doraldina's Montmartre.

Crinoline Days, taking its name from the 1922 Irving Berlin tune that closes out this CD, is clarinetist/saxophonist Dan Levinson's second release to pay homage to the heretofore unheralded boys from Frisco. Whereas, his earlier Echoes in the Wax (Stomp Off, 2003) included reprises of the band's few known recordings, the current offering is a more fanciful look backward.

Using his obvious feel for the time period and its music, Levinson has arranged a program of songs and medleys that could have well served as a pre-'30s evening set for dancing. In gloriously recreating the Frisco signature sound that eschewed the cornet for violin, he brings Jenny Scheinman's violin together with a group comprised of trombonist David Sager, pianist Conal Fowkes, banjo player John Gill, and drummer Kevin Dorn to aid his C-melody saxophone. The band's full sound, made all the more interesting by Scheinman's interplay, aptly interprets well known numbers like "Smile, Smile, Smile, "Pretty Baby, and "I Want a Girl in the genuine style of the era between ragtime and swing.

The band imparts an array of emotions and artfully sets multiple moods from the carefree carousel ride of George M. Cohan's "Nellie Kelly, I Love You to the saxy melancholy of "Roses of Picardy and the naïve excitement of "Good-bye Broadway, Hello France, yet it never loses sight of the melodies. The Blue Amberol Quartette adds to the authenticity of several numbers with four-part vocal harmony, but the disc's real strength lies in the instrumentals. With extensive liner notes and fascinating background glimpses into each song by the legendary Ian Whitcomb, Crinoline Days is the complete package.

Visit Dan Levinson on the web.


Track Listing: Smile, Smile, Smile (Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag); Pretty Baby; Just Like A Butterfly (That's Caught In The Rain); Floatin' Down To Cotton Town; My Wild Irish Rose; Let It Rain, Let It Pour (I'll Be In Virginia In The Morning); Roses Of Picardy; Good-Bye Broadway, Hello France!; Under The Bamboo Tree introducing Ida! Sweet As Apple Cider; Shine On, Harvest Moon; Nellie Kelly, I Love You; It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary introducing I Want A Girl (Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad); Schubert's "Serenade" introducing Serenade Blues; Down Among The Sheltering Palms; Memories; At The Ball, That's All introducing If I Had My Way; A Ring To The Name Of Rosie; Old Man Sunshine (Little Boy Bluebird); My Sunny Tennessee; In The Good Old Summer Time; Canary Cottage introducing It's Always Orange Day In California; Jazzin' The Blues Away; Crinoline Days introducing Some Sunny Day.

Personnel: Jenny Scheinman: violin; Dan Levinson: c-melody saxophone, clarinet; David Sager: trombone; Conal Fowkes: piano; John Gill: banjo; Kevin Dorn: drums; The Blue Amberol Quartette: Larry Bomback: tenor vocals; Eddie Holt: lead vocals; Brad Verebay: baritone vocals; Neal Siegal: bass vocals.

Title: Crinoline Days | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Stomp Off Records

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