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Tonic: It Ain't Over 'til the Fat Man Swings

Dan McClenaghan By

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These are some snazzy sounds, and given this is Christmas music, the "fat man" in the title would be, of course, Santa Claus.

At the risk of sounding Scrooge-ish, you have to pick your holiday sounds carefully in order to avoid the sap factor. The members of Tonic—a group comprised of vocalists Steve and Karen Multer, Paul Langford, and Jennifer Chada—have no sap in their systems. What they do have is some serious swing, crystalline four-part harmony, and a stylish and jazzy way of going after these holiday songs. Some are time-tested standards like Gene Autry's "Here Comes Santa Claus" and the ever-familiar "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"; some very strong originals come from the pens of Tonic-mates Steve and Karen Multer—the snappy title tune (and dig that Jim Gailloreto sax solo) and "At Christmas Time," a poignant ballad.

The sound is very much in the mode of the late thirties and forties vocal groups—smoothly-polished harmonies, with an attitude manifested by fedoras and double breasted jackets, or white dinner jackets and bow ties, for the men (maybe a hip flask stashed in an inside pocket); and evening gowns and above-the-elbow gloves for the ladies.

A fresh and interesting kind of swing for the holidays.

Track Listing: The Holiday Season; Jolly Old St. Nicolas; Here Comes Santa Claus; It Ain't Over 'til the Fat Man Swings; Silver and Gold; Up on the Housetop; At Christmas Time; The Man With the Bag; Darn That Sock; Santa Claus is Coming to Town; Christmas in Chicago; The Joint is Jumpin'.

Personnel: Steve Multer, Karen Multer, Paul Langford, Jennifer Chada: vocals; Paul Langford: piano; Shawn Sommer: bass; Kraig McCleary: guitar; Tom Radtke: drums, Jim Gailloreto: tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute; Grant Cramer: flugelhorn, trumpet; Mark Olen: trumpet, Dave Santilli: soprano and tenor saxophones.

Title: It Ain't Over 'til the Fat Man Swings | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Self Produced


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