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Dan Barrett: Melody in Swing

Mike Neely By

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In my neighborhood, young girls swoon to the sound of Dan Barrett's trombone, and their boyfriends get romantic. Melody in Swing will also get your parents up for a round of slow dancing in the living room. Barrett is one of the great jazz stylists of the trombone, and on this recording he does his best to prove it.

Swing is the key word here, slow, lush music that shows off Barrett's impeccable phrasing. His quintet is all one could ask for, a sensitive rhythm section with a pianist who seems to know intuitively Barrett's every move. Ray Sherman pushes, prods, and helps to shape this session. His piano sound and approach is from an earlier era, when ensemble playing was more valued than it is today. But Sherman can solo; check out is his extended solo on "Carelessly." Blues, ballads, and popular tunes, mostly from the 1940's, are the focus of this recording, and Barrett has arranged these beautifully for his responsive quintet.

Jeff Hamilton on drums, Dave Stone on bass, and Eddie Erickson on guitar lay down a heavenly cushion of rhythm. Stone is highlighted on "I'm Nobody's Baby" with an opening duet with Barrett that highlights just how good a bassist we're dealing with here. Throughout, the ever-dependable Jeff Hamilton is low key and extraordinary - talk about taste and touch! Add to this Eddie Erickson who plays a lively rhythm guitar, and few rhythm sections sound so relaxed and consistently in the groove.

Mr. Barrett can mute and wah-wah with the best of them; his long speech-like solo on "What is This Thing Called Love?" brings to mind Clark Terry at times. Barrett is a master of the slur and the slide, the voice and the growl. Mr. Trombone seems always to have something to say, and it's worth the listening. This is great stuff in the grand tradition of small group, swing jazz. Now, how about if we push back the coffee table, and roll up the rug?

Track Listing: Melody in Swing; I?m Nobody?s Baby; Carelessly; What is This Thing Called Love?; My Mother?s Eyes; Teezol; There is No Greater Love; Take My Heart; Finesse; Besame Mucho; You?ve Got Me Crying Again; Mightly Like the Blues; Gravy Waltz. (60:12)

Personnel: Dan Barrett, trombone; Ray Sherman, piano; Eddie Erickson, guitar & banjo; Dave Stone, bass; and Jeff Hamilton, drums.

| Record Label: Arbors Records | Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing


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