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England native John Burnett has been a part of the Chicago jazz scene for some time. He presently hosts a weekday jazz radio program on WDCB and is also the conductor of his own Swing Orchestra (formed in 1999) which focuses on big band music of the '40s.
Recorded live early last year at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn, Illinois, guest trumpeter Randy Sandke is featured on seven selections and proves to be the most compelling soloist, though the band has a number of fine players who merit wider exposure, among them tenor saxophonist Doug Stone and alto saxophonist Nick Mazarella. The book draws heavily from Count Basie's repertoire, including a swinging treatment of the rarely performed "Flight of the Foo Birds" (you likely have to be over 50 to know the joke behind the song's title), a snappy "One O'Clock Jump" plus the famous chart of "April in Paris" (complete with the famous Thad Jones "Pop Goes the Weasel" quote and multiple reprises of the theme at its conclusion).
They also do justice to "A Night in Tunisia" and "Struttin' With Some Barbecue." The only tiresome gimmick is Tony Pons' pointless attempt to duplicate Louis Armstrong's gravelly vocal to "Hello, Dolly!" Far better are Frieda Lee's two vocal features.
Track Listing: Flight Of The Foo Birds; Groovin Hard; How Sweet It Is; Night in Tunisia; Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere; Struttin With Some Barbeque; Ten Cents A Dance; One Oclock Jump; Hello Dolly; Little Jazz Boogie; Witchcraft; How Long Has This Been Going On?; Sweet Georgia Brown; Begin The Beguine; April In Paris; Love For Sale.
Personnel: John Burnett: leader; Frieda Lee: vocals; John Moran: guitar; Nick Mazarella: alto
saxophone; Bob Frankich: alto saxophone; Anthony Bruno: tenor saxophone; Doug Stone:
tenor saxophone; Bruce Mack: baritone saxophone; Greg Duncan: trumpet; Terry Connell:
trumpet; Mike McGrath: trumpet; Tony Pons: trumpet, vocals; Randy Sandke: trumpet;
Bryant Scott: trombone; Adam Gross: trombone; Dana Legg: trombone; Bill Walsh: bass
trombone; Mark Burnell: piano; Paul Martin: bass; Bill Byan: drums.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.