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If a group is to name itself the Swingin' All Stars and record an album titled Just Swingin,' it should darn well be able to . . . how shall I put this? . . . swing. Luckily, trumpeter J.B. Scott and his All Stars have the swingin' part down pat. Plus, they seem to be having loads of fun playing the swing and trad favorites that comprise this exuberant session.
Scott, whose day gig is director of the University of North Florida's excellent Jazz Ensemble One, also sings, as do wife Lisa Kelly and banjoist Ken Calhoun. Completing the front line are clarinetist Jim Snyder and trombonist Dave Steinmeyer, now in civvies after many years as a star with the U.S. Air Force's premier Jazz ensemble, the Airmen of Note.
The group is in the forefront on such perennials as "Milenburg Joys," "Waitin' for the Robert E. Lee," "That's a Plenty," Panama (Rag)" and "Farewell Blues." Kelly's clear, sultry voice is heard on "St. Louis Blues," "I Wished on the Moon" and a couple of charming songs she co-wrote with Calhoun, "Dolce Amor" and "Chances." There are vocals as well on "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams," "Sweet Lorraine," "Your Feet's Too Big" and "Baby Done Left Me" (the last written by Scott) but I don't know who's singing, Scott or Calhounnot that it makes much difference.
This is bright, happy music, adeptly performed by eight talented musicians who put their collective shoulders to the wheel to make it shine. The song list should help advise potential listeners as to whether this is an album they'd wish to seek out.
Track Listing: Milenburg Joys; Dolce Amor; Waitin� for the Robert E. Lee; Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams; St. Louis Blues; Just a Closer Walk with Thee; Sweet Lorraine; That�s a Plenty; Your Feet�s Too Big; Chances; Panama (Rag); Baby Done Left Me; I Wished on the Moon; Farewell Blues.
Personnel: J.B. Scott: trumpet, vocals; Dave Steinmeyer: trombone; Jim Snyder: clarinet; Ken Calhoun: banjo, guitar, vocals; Rick Ravelo: bass; Eric Mason: drums, castanets; Steve Salo: drums, bass drum: Lisa Kelly: vocals.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.