Yes, Virginia, there are many “swing” “bands” that “play” Thirties and Forties repertoire for dancers and listeners. I could tell many a tale. But Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders really swing, without a quotation mark in sight. Maybe it’s because their leader is a swinging string bassist who’s thus situated in the heart of the rhythm section that the disc sounds so good. Maybe it’s because Michael has surrounded himself with musicians who understand ensemble playing as well as their solo excursions. Musicians, I point out, who understand Buck Clayton, Ben Webster, Lester Young, Allan Reuss, Pete Brown, Dicky Wells, Charlie Christian, Jo Jones, Billie Holiday without copying them.
Whatever magic it took to create this band and this CD is in the hearts and bodies of the creators, I can only imagine. I can only comment on the gratifying results.
Their debut CD is an authentic-sounding tasting menu of good things. If you’re like me, a close listener who has many Swing Heroes and Heroines, the list of people on the disc will immediately act as confirmation that a purchase would be a good idea (you have a birthday behind you or coming soon, correct?):
Michael Gamble, Bass / Keenan McKenzie, Clarinet and Saxes / Jonathan Stout, Lead Guitar / Paul Cosentino, Clarinet and Saxes / Russ Wilson, Vocals and Drums / Brooks Prumo, Rhythm Guitar / Gordon Au, Trumpet / Craig Gildner, Piano / Noah Hocker, Trumpet / James Posedel, Piano / Josh Collazo, Drums / Lucian Cobb, Trombone / Laura Windley, Vocal / David Wilken, Trombone.
And the repertoire: BACK IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD / I NEVER KNEW / SLIDIN’ AND GLIDIN’ / SEVEN COME ELEVEN / PICK-A-RIB / A MELLOW BIT OF RHYTHM / BUG IN A RUG / HE AIN’T GOT RHYTHM / WHO’S SORRY NOW? / WOKE UP CLIPPED / ROSE ROOM / WHAT A NIGHT, WHAT A MOON, WHAT A GIRL / CRAZY ABOUT LESTER /SCOTTIE / SMOKE GETS IN YORU EYES.
You’ll notice that this band has dug deeply and wisely into the music rather than offering the standard two dozen overplayed standards of the swing era. Rocking tempos with lovely fervent playing and singing throughout. I guarantee it.
And here’s an audio-visual sampler, quite authentic and lively:
Here is the spot that’s hot: where you can purchase this disc. Even if you’re like me, whose swing dancing is the happy motion of my head and my right foot — an imagined choreography much more than a full-body actualized one — you will love the music that Michael and the band create. It feels real — rhythmically, melodically, and spiritually. (If you are a swing dancer, you surely have encountered this band somewhere and already have purchased their music, which amounts to a compact party. Just add bottled water and snacks.)
And here is the band’s schedule: coming soon to a waxed floor near you!
May your happiness increase!