SWING IT, GATE! Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses: Blow, Swing Fever with Mary Stallings: One Full Hour of Music

Remember when jazz used to be fun? That’s how I originally got into it; guys like Louis Jordan and Dizzy Gillespie were able to make you want to dance and smile at the same time. Nowadays it’s more like a CEREBRATION than a CELEBRATION. Well, hope is on the horizon-here are a couple of albums that will remember why you fell in love with this stuff in the first place.

Trumpeter/leader Louis Prima Jr. has a swing pedigree, being the son of the guy who wrote “Sing, Sing Sing” and had a hard hitting big band of his own. The blessing has been passed to the next generation, as this guy leads a band that makes the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Band sound like Kenny G in comparison. Even better, his tenor player, Marco Palos sounds like the second coming of Sam Butera as he wipes the floor on “Blow” and “I Just Wanna Have Fun.”  The mix of vintage R&B with a Crescent City attitude is absolutely infectious; a tune like “Might Be Crazy” smokes like a Cubano, while “Someday” sounds like it came out of Stax Records in Memphis in the 60s and has been hidden in some back room all these years. The joint is jumping on “Robin Hood,” and if you aren’t in a sweat by the time they close out with “Those Million Things,” all I can say is that I feel sorry for you, cause there ain’t anything better.

Trombonist Bryan Gould leads a nifty little band with Jim Putman/g, Joe Dodge/dr, Noel Jewkes/sax-cl-fl and Dean Reilly/b that includes supreme vocalist Mary Stallings for 60 minutes of tunes that swing like you’re at Broadway and 42nd. Ellingtonia is in wondrous display on a hopping “Jack The Bear” as well as a richly textured “Black and Tan Fantasy.” Basie’s not too far behind, with Dodge’s breathy tenor blowing smoke on “Tickletoe” and the whole band going four beats steady on “It’s Sand, Man.” Stallings caresses tunes like “East of the Sun” and “Thou Swell” while her take of “A Beautiful Friendship” sounds fresh and earnest. If swing’s your thing (and if not, WHY NOT?), then step right up for a cure for whatever ails ya.

Warrior Records


Swing Fever Entertainment


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