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A fine blues guitarist and singer, Saskatchewan native Colin James dabbled in the swing thing long before it became the pop flavor of the month. His 1993 release Little Big Band featured a dazzling band that included Roomful of Blues, Chuck Leavell and Reese Winans. James revives that sound here by inviting blues and swing talents Kaz Kazanoff (saxophones), Greg Piccolo (saxophones), Winans (keys), Brian Casserly (trumpet) and many others to join him in the studio. This collection mixes blues with swing classics, and though it's similar to the stuff Brian Setzer's Orchestra delivered on their latest, this band is far less bombastic than Setzer's. Little Big Band II is one of the better collections of jump blues and swing I've heard since the swing craze took hold.
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.