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Spoofing UFO Capitol Roswell, NM, with cover and liner notes looking like they belong in a 1940‘s pulp fiction magazine, The Swingtips run the swing table from "Sam the Clam", an amusing take off on Dr. Seuss's Sam I Am, to a comparatively big production number like the "James Bond Theme". One of the earlier riders of the swing band revival wagon, this group was organized in 1994 by Kregg Barentine, after his two year stint with the Glenn Miller ghost band. Populated by players who also have good big band credentials, this six-piece outfit - - enhanced from time to time with additional vocalists and percussion - - give the impression there are more of them than they actually are, a trait fairly common among contemporary swing groups.
Barentine is the jack of all trades on this session (although most of the participants are also ambidextrous). He composed or co-composed most of the material, plays several instruments, does vocals and produced, engineered and mixed. Joined by backup singers, he takes the lead on a rousing musical adventure, his own "Whoa Babe". Even something as a traditional greeting as happy birthday gets tongue in cheek treatment on "Happy, Happy Birthday". Scott Yandel's lead trumpet on "Stardust", the only standard, shows that the group can be respectful and melodic recognizing there are songs not to be satirized, Hoagy Carmichael's classic being of one them. Although not engaging in the same depth of caricature or using the same level of sound effects, the spirit of Spike Jones is one of the UFO's lurking about. "Goodbye, Goodbye", combining 1950's rock and early Elvis Presley is a fitting coda to this happy album.
Track Listing: Roswell; Cantina Band; Limbo; Big Top; Sam the Clam; Jonny Quest; James Bond Theme; I Got U; Grim Grinning Ghosts; Chupacabra Cha Cha; Happy, Happy Birthday; Whoa, Babe; Stardust; Goodbye, Goodbye
Personnel: Kregg Barentine - Alto Saxophone/Woodwinds/Keyboards/Vocals/Guitar/Arranger; Gregg Delfiner - Drums/Percussion; Kyle Nix/bass; Jim Van Wagoner - Piano/Vocals; Mark Witt - Trombone/Vocals; Scott Vandell - Trumpet/Vocals; Bruce Miles - Narration; Angela K. Barentine, Amy Jo Halliday, Lady J, Cole Barentine, Cole, Jason Crawford, Autumn Hale, Jonah Johnson, Ryan Morris, Mead Myrick, Josh Reed, Mandy Stock, Mary Warren - Vocals; Scott Tegan, Kyle Barentine - Percussion; Steve Bige, Jim Roberts - Piano; Kurt Finchum - Trumpet
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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