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The Rick Brunetto Big Band: Stand Up and Swing

Jack Bowers By

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What we have here is a dance band, and a pretty decent one, from Denison, Ohio. Stand Up and Swing, recorded six years ago, is essentially a showcase for vocalists Kelly McLennan, Brian Michael Smith and Dwight Lenox, as drummer Rick Brunetto’s band backs one of them on seven of the eleven selections.

Although it's hard to be sure, it sounds at times as though the ensemble had set the instrumental substructure in place, with vocals and solos added later. McLennan, Smith and Lenox acquit themselves rather well, while the band offers dependable support throughout. McLennan, who treads nimbly in spite of a tendency to lag behind the beat, is heard most often (“Day by Day,” “Embraceable You,” “The Very Thought of You,” “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To”).

Smith is virile and enthusiastic on the Anthony Newley / Leslie Bricusse show-stopper, “Once in a Lifetime,” and a medley of five well-known standards, opening and closing with Vincent Youmans’ ‘Without a Song,” while baritone Lenox shows promise on Rodgers and Hart’s “Bewitched” even though he plays fast and loose with the lyrics. The ensemble has its say on two standards — “Easy to Love,” “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” — and two originals by Brunetto, “Stand Up and Swing” and “It Must Be Thursday.” Trumpeter Bill Ferguson is featured on “Swing” and with trombonist Kevin Baker on “Easy to Love,” tenor Errol Schlabach on “Thursday.”

I don’t know if the band remains active — but would hope that is the case, as the world can never have too much charming dance music.

Contact: brunetto@gurulink.com


Title: Stand Up and Swing | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: RB


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