Kit McClure Band: Just the ThingBy
The first ten selections on Part 2 are the same as on Part 1 (although not in the same order), with Juan Tizol's "Perdido, the last track on the earlier album, replaced on this one by the clunky "NYC Rap, which, as one would expect, suffers by comparison (in other words, they don't write 'em like they used to). McClure had a hand in arranging and reupholstering every number, helped at times by pianist Cathy Harley, bassists Kim Clarke and Nicki Parrott, drummers Barbara Merjan, Bernice Brooks, Lakecia Benjamin and L. Olivia Sci, trombonist Britta Langsjoen and composer/arranger Maurice King who had written five of the tunes for the Sweethearts themselves. It's a sincere and interesting endeavor but as a rule lacks the vitality and enthusiasm of Part 1, which was a tad more straight-ahead and swinging.
Several numbers"Vi Vigor, "Just the Thing, Don't Get It Twisted, "She's Crazy with the Heat, Basie's "One O'Clock Jump, a more laid-back version of Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose are neat and handsome in their new clothing, while others don't fare quite as well. In that respect it's a split decision, one that rests in part on one's penchant for classic swing vs. cool and modern. Two selections"Jump Children and "I Never Get Tired were enhanced on the earlier session by one of the original Sweethearts, guitarist/vocalist Carline Ray, who's absent this time.
Part Two's most explicit advantage lies in the playing time, 51:36 as opposed to the first album's meager 34:27. That gives the soloists more room to stretch, and McClure, Harley and the others make the most of it. Trumpeter Tanya Darby contributes a number of animated solos, as do drummer Benjamin (especially on "Vi Vigor ) and saxophonists Tia Fuller and Erica Von Kliest.
While I'd give a narrow edge to Part One of The Sweethearts Project for overall charm and pleasure, Part Two has much to offer in its own right and is easily recommended.
Kit McClure: alto, tenor sax, leader; Liesl Whitaker, Barbara Laronga, Laurie Frink, Tanya Darby: trumpet; Lakecia Benjamin, Lisa Parrott, Tia Fuller, Erica Von Kliest: alto sax; Kristy Norter: tenor sax; Claire Daly: baritone sax; Britta Langsjoen, Jennifer Krupa: trombone; Cathy Harley, Jill McCarron: piano; Nicki Parrott, Kim Clarke: bass; Barbara Merjan, L. Olivia Sci, Bernice Brooks: drums; Sue Hadjopoulos, Karen Jones: percussion.
Title: Just the Thing | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Redhot Records
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About Kit McClure Band
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