Listeners entertained by the Buddy DeFranco/Dave McKenna Concord recordings, You Must Believe in Swing (1997) and Do Nothing Till You Hear From Us! (1999), will be delighted with John Cipolla and Doc Livingston's Misbehavin'. Cipolla is the erstwhile leader on this duet recital with pianist/clarinetist Doc Livingston at Bowling Green's Western Kentucky University, where Cipolla is an assistant professor of music.
The recital is made up of twelve standards, all from the earlier part of the 20th Century. To his credit pianist Livingston goes easy on the stride piano, instead opting for a more middle-of-the-road approach in supporting Cipolla's playing. Livingston is gracious and empathic with Cipolla, revealing an ongoing simpatico the two have enjoyed for several years. The recital is the type of mainstream jazz performance that is well-behaved (regardless of the title). Disc highlights include the opening, "Moon Ray, "Willow Weep for Me, and "You'd be So Nice to Come Home To. The principles provide an easy swing, with an effortless momentum coming from the comfort of the performers.
While these previously mentioned songs are considered highlights, the top of the heap belongs to the disc's two final pieces, "Lady Be Good and a reprise of "Ain't Misbehavin', both performed by Cipolla and Livingston playing clarinet. These songs could just as easily been performed for a classical audience as a winds duet. Some recordings simply have nothing wrong with them. This is one.
Track Listing: Moon Ray; On The Sunny Side Of The Street; Willow Weep For Me; It Donít Mean A Thing; Body And Soul; Blackstick; On A Clear Day; Deep Purple; Youíd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Comes Love; Lady Be Good; Ainít Misbehaviní.
Personnel: John Cipolla: clarinet; Doc Livingston: piano, clarinet.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.