This recent CD release has become a favorite of mine for listening at home and in the car.
It features the ever tasty trumpet and flugelhorn of Jeff Hughes and the lovely,swinging voice of Debby Larkin
backed up by a top flight New England rhythm section. Jeff is also a wonderful cornetist, but chose to play a 1946 Benge trumpet for the session.
Jeff,a personal friend and colleague is well known around New England for his work with the Wolverine Jazz Band and his own combos. His horn has shades of Bix,Hackett,Berigan and Warren Vache-but is all Hughes.
Debby has been on the New England scene now for a couple of Decades and has graced the groups of Craig Ball,The Swing Legacy and her own group with husband Jeff Stout (another great trumpeter). She sings in a no-nonsense style with pure voice and jazz phrasing but never feels the urge to scat or over indulge.
Also featured is pianist Ross Petot, a busy performer known for his work with the Wolverine Jazz Band and Blue Horizon Jazz Band and a master of stride piano.
Guitarist Dan Weiner is a solid player with roots in the Herb Ellis/Barney Kessell style of jazz guitar.
Bassist Peter Tillotson is a new face but has impressive credentials and is a solid rhythm man and soloist.
Drummer Dave Didrickson, a former Chicagoan also a Wolverine and a solid timekeeper in the Dave Tough tradition. The group ranges from trad to mainstream easily and Jeff and Ross' versatility gives the group that range. The band has played frequently at the Sherborn (Mass.) Inn .And now on to the musical highlights.
Raincheck-The title tune is a nicely swinging rendition of the Billy Strayhorn classic. Jeff's harmon muted trumpet and Ross duet the melody front and back with some of Ross' stride piano a highlight.
Love Letters- The beautiful Victor Young standard gets loving teatment from Jeff's fluegel,Ross'
piano musings and Dan's pensive guitar.
It Had to be You- Isham Jones' classic introduces Debbie with a clear,no nonsense rendering backed by Jeff's pretty muted horn. Deb always sings in perfect taste and swing.
I'm Checking out Goombye- This rather obscure but fun swinger from Duke dates from 1937,with Ivie Anderson's vocal..
Rosie Clooney recorded it with Duke in the 50s and in the 80s on Concord. Following Ross' delightful striding,Deb gets a lot of Rosie's pretty tone that still swings and Jeff contributes some Cootie-ish growl horn.
S'Wonderful- The Gershwin standard gets a lovely bossa nova treatment similar to Diana Krall's recent recording. Highlights are Deb's mellow vocal,Jeff's flugel (a bit Herb Alpert-ish) and Dan's guitar with shades of Wes Montgomery.
Cottontail- More Ellingtonia. Jeff opens with Harmon followed by Ross' Dukish comping and a spot for Peter's solid bass.
Get out of Town- This Cole Porter classic gets a mini-concert arrangement starting with Ross' rent part stride,then slowing down to a nice medium groove for Deb's tender vocalizing and Jeff's pretty trumpet statements.
Speak Low- The Kurt Weill standard gets a moody latin treatment with Jeff's horn channeling Warren Vache and Herb Alpert. Ross and Dan also have tasty solo spots.
The Lady's in Love with You.- A great Burton Lane standby is given a swinging treatment by Swing times 5. Debbie's vocal is pure and swinging as are the solos by Jeff and Ross. A nice way to end a lovely but all-too short session of swing and the Great American songbook.
To purchase this delightful CD go to the group's website www. swingxfive.com. or do a search under their name. You won't be dissapointed.