The brand-new CD by Paul Cosentino’s Boilermaker Jazz Band, JIVE AT FIVE, is all the good things I’ve stated in my title. This is an experienced working band, so the solos are nimble, the ensembles expert. But hear for yourself:
Beautifully played, homage to Johnny Hodges and Lawrence Brown in their Sixties Victor phase (this CD has a strong Hodges leaning, something to be celebrated).
But the disc is distinguished by versatility and variety. You can see it in the list of performances: JIVE AT FIVE / TOO DARN HOT / TAFFY / ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE / S’POSIN’ / IS YOU IS OR IS YOU AIN’T MY BABY / WABASH BLUES / THE JEEP IS JUMPIN’ / ALWAYS / PYRAMID / WINGS AND THINGS / I LOVE YOU / MOON RAY / ROCK-A-BYE BASIE / EV’RY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE.
Erudite readers will have their own automatic associations, but permit me to note a few. There’s Cole Porter and Broadway friends (rendered forthrightly and graciously by vocalist Erin Keckan), 1939-40 Basie, a Berlin Classic, a nod to Louis Jordan, some Duke but not the formulaic (no SATIN DOLL, thank you), Artie Shaw, early Chicago jazz, and more. The band’s depth and diversity of repertoire is in itself impressive,
And did I say that the tempos are very pleasing? Excellent dance music:
To me, what sets the Boilermaker Jazz Band apart is a kind of stylistic flexibility. Some bands (happily) lean backwards, looking for a Swing Era authenticity, so they look to Bunny and TD, Benny, Artie, and Teddy: you can add your own names . . . and when they understand the masters they are venerating, the result is swell. In the groove. But the BJB embraces a slightly later aesthetic (although there is some post-Condon jamming here and there): I would say that the soloists have been listening to 1960 Basie — think Joe Newman, Al Grey — Ray Bryant and other heroes of that generation. With delightful effectiveness, I must add. And leader Cosentino is a chameleon: an Ed Hall cadence, a little 1954 Artie, or a Hodges vibrato: a man of many selves, all swinging.
I should name the people making these nice sounds: Paul Cosentino, leader, arranger, clarinet, tenor and alto saxophones; Jeff Bush, trombone, arranger; Tony DePaolis, string bass; Thomas Wendt, trumpet; Antonio Croes, piano; James Moore, trumpet; Erin Keckan, vocals.
You’ll like it.
May your happiness increase!