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The Pat Longo Big Band: The Hit List

Jack Bowers By

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Okay, Pat, granted you have a splendid band, and there's an abundance of good-natured camaraderie and energy on The Hit List—but a playing time of less than 35 minutes is clearly unacceptable for a compact disc, which will accommodate up to eighty. Truth be told, this enterprise—with no liner notes or recording dates, no list of soloists, unnamed backup singers, a single-page "booklet"—has the taste of a leftover meal, wherein one reaches into the fridge—in this case the library—to see what's there in order to cook up something quick and easy.

The menu in this case consists of ten neo-swing compositions that are highly caloric but essentially lacking in solid nutritional value. Nice music to jitterbug to, perhaps, but not much meat for the serious jazz aficionado to chew on. The charts, including a couple each by Tom Kubis and the late Gordon Brisker, plus others by Kim Richmond and Billy Byers, are decent enough, but a little jumping, jiving and wailing goes a long way. Speaking of which—that arrangement ("Jump, Jive and Wail"), as well as "Choo-choo sh Boogie and "Just a Gigolo — is by trombonist Lon Norman, who sings on all three (with that anonymous backup group). While Norman is suitably exuberant, his personality doesn't exactly reach out and grab you by the throat.

Solos are brief (eight to sixteen bars, except for the tenor on Steve Allen's "Jumpy Blues and guitar on "Longo's Boogie"), businesslike, and designed mainly to fill space between the snappy ensemble passages and sanguine vocals. Judging from the list of personnel, my guess is that the various numbers were recorded during two or more sessions and cobbled together to produce the album. It's a nice try, but in the end there simply isn't enough jazz—whether measured in terms of time or substance—to appease one's hunger.


Track Listing: Bandstand Boogie; Jumpy Blues; Jump Jive and Wail; Longo

Personnel: Pat Longo, leader, alto sax; Kim Richmond, Rusty Higgins, Ray Reed, Pete Christlieb, Bob Efford, Gordon Brisker, reeds; Rick Baptist, George Graham, Buddy Childers, Frank Szabo, Ron King, Wayne Bergeron, trumpet; Lon Norman, trombone, vocals; Alex Iles, Andy Martin, Dana Hughes, Lew McCreary, trombone; Lincoln Mayorga, Paul Chipello, piano; John Chiodini, Frank Browne, guitar; Dave Stone, Trey Henry, bass; Ralph Razze, Paul Humphrey, drums; Jerry Steinholtz, percussion.

Title: The Hit List | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Longann Records


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