207

Jim Caruso: The Swing Set

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
This disc is 250,000 pounds-per-square-inch cabaret music rendered with a loving and exacting hand by a coy master. Singer Jim Caruso does not take himself seriously while doing exactly that, and it is this quality that makes The Swing Set so much entertaining fun. Caruso's repertoire is not dusty standards, sanded to nothingness; instead, he chooses less-heard gems performed in the style of the '20s and '30s. Add to this perfect engineering and a crackerjack band, and Caruso delivers a completely entertaining experience.

Caruso opens his recital with a bright and smiling take on the 1935 Ted Koehler/Jimmy McHugh Alice Faye vehicle, "I've Got My Fingers Crossed." He shares this glee with Michael Feinstein on the mid-'40s June Barton hit "It's Got To Be This or That," propelled by the full the strength of Caruso's little big band. Harry Allen proves why he is the Frank Sinatra of the tenor saxophone in his solo—Caruso may be his perfect musical foil.

Perhaps the most "standard" of Caruso's selection is the Arlen/Yarberg classic, "If I Only Had a Brain," which Caruso slays with guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and cornetist Warren Vache. This is, perhaps, the finest performance of this true American chestnut. Caruso sings this ballad with such sweetness and grace that it would be hard to imagine him bettering himself, but he does on "Pick Yourself Up," which he sings full of sunshine and glee. In lesser hands, the music on The Swing Set would be pure camp. Caruso saves the recital from this with a fun, confident sense of humor and certain knowledge of his material.

Track Listing: I've Got My Fingers Crossed; I Love A Violin; Manhattan; Gotta Be This Or That; I'm So Happy; If I Only Had A Brain; I'm Shootin' High; The Doodlin' Song; Pick Yourself Up; Flexible; Just Squeeze Me; Heart's Desire.

Personnel: Jim Caruso: vocals; Aaron Weinstein: violin, music director, arranger; Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar; Warren Vache: cornet; Harry Allen: tenor saxophone; Tedd Firth: piano; Steve Doyle: bass; John Burr: bass; Warren Odes: drums; Kristy Norter: saxophones; Dave Trigg: trumpet; Ross Konkoff: trumpet.

Title: The Swing Set | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Yellow Sound Label

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Read more articles
The Swing Set

The Swing Set

Yellow Sound Label
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read The Turning Album Reviews
The Turning
By Bruce Lindsay
July 20, 2019
Read Reveries and Revelations Album Reviews
Reveries and Revelations
By John Eyles
July 20, 2019
Read Live/Shapeshifter Album Reviews
Live/Shapeshifter
By Don Phipps
July 20, 2019
Read Vol 3 Album Reviews
Vol 3
By Phillip Woolever
July 20, 2019
Read First Nature Album Reviews
First Nature
By Troy Dostert
July 19, 2019
Read Sacred Kind of Love: The Columbia Recordings Album Reviews
Sacred Kind of Love: The Columbia Recordings
By Jakob Baekgaard
July 19, 2019
Read Perhaps Album Reviews
Perhaps
By Don Phipps
July 19, 2019