Band leader Don Neely has been mining nuggets from syncopated jazz, 1920 style, and 1930's big band music then releasing them on albums featuring his Royal Society Jazz Orchestra} for more than 20 years. His latest, Jump Start, continues in that vein, but has the added attraction of including for a change, some Neely compositions. Among his four tunes is the title tune "Jump Star" with clever drumming by Steve Apple. This and the other Neely originals like "Record Hop" recreate 1920 vintage music popularized by the likes of Paul Whiteman, Red Nichols, Fats Waller and Rudy Vallee. Neely is also the band's boy singer. As he sings, one can almost see the megaphone singers of this era used to project and sometimes exaggerate, their voice as on "When I Dance with You". On others, he adopts a Fats Waller affectation.
The girl singer, Carla Normand, is on several tracks. The most notable of her warbling comes with "Why Don't You Do Right?", "Somebody Loves Me" and "Goody Goody". She affects that little girl, wide-eyed ingenue tone in her voice which was so popular in the 1920's. The band takes care of most all of the cuts honoring swing, 1930's edition. There is some fine instrumental playing and solos on Jan Savitt's "720 in the Books", "Sweet Georgia Brown" and Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing" carved into the annals of big band jazz by Benny Goodman. All the major instruments from this period are included, even a theremin, an instrument that is played without being touched.
All the musicians in this group are masters of both these musical styles and of their instruments. The arrangements faithfully replications without imitations as played by white jazz musicians during this part of the 20th Century. You will not hear any Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong or Fletcher Henderson orchestrations here. Nonetheless, this album is entertaining fun and is recommended.
Track Listing: Jump Start; It's Been So Long; Rhythm Is Our Business; Somebody Loves Me; If Dreams Come True; Yes-Sir-EE Bob; Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive; 720 in the Books; When I Dance with You; Sweet Georgia Brown; Why Don't You Do Right?; Record Skip Hop; Goody-Goody; On the Sunny Side of the Street; Sing, Sing, Sing
Personnel: Don Neely - Tenor, Soprano & Alto Sax/Clarinet/Vocals/Leader; Carla Normand - Vocals; Dick Mathias, Nik Phelps - Alto Sax/Clarinet; Andrew Storar - Trumpet; Kent Mikasa - Trombone; Seth Asarnow - Piano/Vibraphone/Theremin; Marty Eggers - Bass; Steve Apple - Drums; Dix Bruce - Guitar/Banjo
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.