P>There has been much ado about the great swing revival pioneered by such retro swingers as Brian Setzer and The Squirrel Nut Zippers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies with many other groups jumping on the band wagon. In Florida, there has been no swing revival because with the large number of retirees who have moved there, swing has never gone anywhere. With outfits like Dennis Noday's Big Band and now Dan McMillion's Big Band that's featured on this album, Floridians get the real thing. No synthetic stuff here. This album recalls the tunes which the big bands made big hits. There's also three originals by George W. Carroll, who is responsible for many of the arrangements, produced the session and founded the label. Oh, yes, he also sings on each track in the tradition and style of Frank Sinatra (naturally), Mel Torme and Tony Bennett. The album features a good balance between ballads and up tempo numbers. McMillion's big band is made up of some very good musicians from the Tampa Bay area. McMillion plays admirable trumpet and flugelhorn and his muted trumpet noodles behind Carroll's vocal on "Someone to Watch Over Me", recalling Harry "Sweets" Edison backing of Frank Sinatra on some of Old Blue Eyes' albums. Other good instrumental solos include Kim Bock's tenor on "Angel Eyes" and Roger DeLillo's trombone on "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." An album highlight is the rendition of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" which is closer to the Bobby Darin/Billy May arrangement than the acclaimed Ray Eberle 1941 recording with Glenn Miller.
Carroll's originals, which he wrote with Kathi Warren, make up the last three tracks with superior bop alto saxophonist Greg Abate handling the bulk of the solos with his usual aplomb. "Till I Found You", done by the small group, with its bop leanings seems somewhat out of place given the swing orientation of the session. But Carroll's other two compositions swing and get listener attention with their up beat rhythms. Noted band leader Frank Mantooth, arranged "Life Is Good." These tracks certify that Mr. Carroll is a composer of some note. Life Is Good goes a long way in keeping the excitement of big band swing alive and is recommended.
Tracks:Almost Like Being in Love; A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Angel Eyes; A Foggy Day; Night and Day; Fly Me to the Moon; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; Come Rain or Come Shine; Georgia on My Mind; Alone Togther; Someone to Watch over Me; Till I Found You; Millennium; Life Is Good
Personnel: Small Group-George W. Carroll - Vocal, Arranger;Greg Abate - Alto Sax; Richard Drexler - Piano, Bass; LaRue Nickelson - Guitar; John Moore - Drums:Big Band- Dan McMillion - Leader, Flugelhorn, Trumpet; John Robinson, Andy Reese, John Lombard, Brad Turner - Trumpet; Roger Delillo, Chris Price, Dave Hook, Jim Hall - Trombone; Jeff Hall, Dave Eckman - Alto Sax; Kim Bock, Mark Gould - Tenor Saxophone; Butch Evans - Baritone Saxophone; John Slate - Piano; Joe Porter - Bass; Ralph Cornwell - Drums
| Record Label: Sarasota Sunsets
| Style: Big Band
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.