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There seems to be a small but lively revival of swing music from the 1920's and 30's. Don Neely's San Francisco based Royal Society Jazz Orch. has been issuing CDs which delve into the charts from this period. Now along comes the Boilermaker Jazz Band out of Pittsburgh, PA headed by clarinetist Paul Cosentino. Cosentino uses the pretty much discarded complex Albert system of playing which was taught by the well known New Orleans clarinet teacher, Lorenzo Tio, Jr., in the early 1900's. Among his more famous pupils were Sidney Bechet and Barney Bigard. Using this system, Cosentino's clarinet takes on a soulful, sometimes mournful, mahogany sound which works well with the music and the style he plays it in which comes close to, but doesn't quite reach, New Orleans traditional.
All of the music on this set was written between 1902 and 1939 and most of it is played in an up tempo manner. But there are some surprises. We tend to forget that Latin rhythms were favored by the early New Orleans jazz players and Cosentino's group reminds us of that with "Siboney" with Gerry Gagnon's quivering trombone taking the lead. The waltz "In the Good Old Summertime" is done as a rip roaring barrelhouse swinger. "Little Grass Shack" has an uncredited singer backed by the banjo instead of ukelele. The more senior of us may recall that this tune was a favorite of Arthur Godfrey who did use a ukelele. One of the more engaging tracks is a blusey, melodic Cosentino clarinet on "If I Had You" followed by that unknown crooner.
Calling this group a band may be a bit of an overstatement. The biggest it gets is seven pieces. The quartet format is used for six tracks and a trio for one. But whatever the configuration, the outcome is an exciting, spirited and fun-filled session. Recommended.
Track Listing: Would Do Anything for You; You Tell Me Your Dream; Did I Remember?; New Orleans Joys; I'll See You in My Dreams; In the Good Old Summertime; Shoe Boogie; If I Had You; Panama; Just for a Thrill; Siboney; I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now; Little Grass Shack
Personnel: Paul Cosentino - Clarinet/Leader; Clint Baker - Trumpet; Dan Davisson - Banjo; Gerry Gagnon - Trombone; Ernest McCarty - Bass; Tom Roberts - Piano; Rich Strong - Drums
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me. Try as I might, I was never able to achieve a high enough level of competency to perform at the level I was first and subsequently exposed to. Regardless, I was hooked on jazz and remain so to this day.