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Ed Puddick Big Band / Frank Macchia / Rick Wald NY 16

Jack Bowers By

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Those who've heard the group's debut album, Castaneda's Dance, will know basically what to expect from Play That Thing. Those who haven't may be pleasantly surprised by their introduction to Rick Wald and his accomplished sixteen-member ensemble.

Brooks Tegler Big Band

That's It!

Maxngruber Records

2010

That's It!, drummer Brooks Tegler's first recording as leader of his own band, is a tenaciously swinging, smile-inducing salute to some of the big-band giants who helped define the genre, with each of the session's 18 tracks devoted to the music of Basie, Benny Carter, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw or Duke Ellington. Eschewing for the most part the better-known numbers from their books, Tegler and the band remind listeners who weren't fortunate enough to have been alive during the Big Band Era why these and other bands were so enormously popular, drawing sellout audiences to their concerts and other performances on a nightly basis in cities and towns from coast to coast, and why their music continues to be performed so many years after the big bands supposedly died.

The album's freewheeling opener and title selection is a tribute to the Dorsey band, as is Bill Finnegan's melodic "Pussy Willow." Herman is represented by his groovy "Ingie Speaks" and Shorty Rogers' scampering "Keeper of the Flame," Goodman by "If Dreams Come True" and "Goodnight My Love," the latter nicely sung by Lynn McCune who is also heard on "I Have Eyes" from the Artie Shaw library. Jim Stephanson is the vocalist on "Now I Know" (Miller) and "Alright, Okay, You Win" (Basie). The Count earns three citations in all ("John's Idea" and "Sweetie Cakes" are the others), as does the Duke ("Jack the Bear," "Hiya Sue," "Such Sweet Thunder"). Earnest salutes to Benny Carter ("Slow Freight"), Miller ("SNAFU Jump") and Krupa ("Gypsy Mood") complete the handsome program. If there's no Gene Krupa in Tegler's band, there's at least a Jen Krupa (no relation that we know of; she's from Canada), a stalwart member of the trombone section who solos on the three tributes to Ellington.

Speaking of soloists, Tegler has a number of fluent improvisers, most notably trumpeters Kenny McGee, Randy Reinhart and Vince McCool; clarinetist Joe Midiri, alto Marty Nau, tenors Scott Silbert (channeling Zoot Sims on "That's It!") and Don Lerman (alto solos on "Ingie Speaks" and "John's Idea"), baritone Leigh Pilzer and trombonist Paul Midiri (vibes solos on "Goodnight My Love" and "Keeper of the Flame"). Tegler, bassist Tommy Cecil, guitarist Tommy Mitchell (seven numbers) and pianists Larry Eanet or Robert Redd comprise a solid rhythm section. For big band lovers of every age, background and persuasion.

Dutch Swing College Band

My Inspiration

Pink Records

2010

When the Dutch Swing College Band was formed in 1945, World War II was still being fought in the Pacific and bebop was in its infancy. Some 66 years on, the DSCB is still doing its thing, touring European cities, recording new albums (at least twenty-eight so far), and most of all, swinging in a style made popular in the 1920s and '30s. In other words, this is plain-spoken Dixieland jazz, performed with dexterity and enthusiasm by a well-seasoned group whose lineup seldom changes.

The band (actually an octet) was led for 45 years by its founder, clarinetist Peter Schilperoort, who died in 1990. Since then, the DSCB has been led by another clarinetist, Bob Kaper, who joined the band in 1967. A glance at some of the song titles on My Inspiration—"Limehouse Blues," "China Boy," "My Gal Sal," "Royal Garden Blues"—exposes decisive evidence of what the band is about. Also on the enticing menu are a pair of compositions by Lil Hardin Armstrong (Armstrong), "Tears" and "Perdido Street Blues," the first co-written with her then-husband, Louis, and others by Bob Haggart ("My Inspiration"), Bronislau Kaper ("Somewhere Somehow"), Django Reinhardt ("Nuages") and the Hollywood songwriting team of Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn ("I've Heard That Song Before").

Kaper, who plays alto sax as well as clarinet, sings on "My Gal Sal," which some may recall from the old Jackie Gleason television show, while guitarist and banjoist Ton van Bergeijk does likewise on "I Wish I Were Twins" and "I Wish I Was in Peoria." Elsewhere, all is instrumental, and all is charming, especially the fast-paced "China Boy" and "Limehouse Blues," amiable "Tears," plaintive "Inspiration" and trumpeter Bert de Koort's breezy original, "Jumpin' at Sesjun." Throughout, ensemble work and solos are as admirable as the handiwork of any comparable band, here at home or abroad.

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