Working out of the New York City metropolitan area, Swingadelic is, roughly, a 10-piece dance little big band. Specializing in swing, the ensemble has capitalized on the nation’s current swing dance craze. Assembled to perform at swing dances, weddings, parties or special events, the group aims to mix the sound of the traditional big band music of Ellington, Basie and Sinatra, with the soulfulness of music as exhibited by artists such as Ray Charles. Another Monday Night is their fourth CD release.
Leader and bassist Dave Post has assembled a disc that features the band in their best light. As the function of the band is to entertain at dances or corporate events, functions that do not cater to structured highly focused listening, the 12 tracks all have a similar vibe to them. The arrangements are not highly involved or elaborately schemed; but what they do feature is, for the most part, single harmonized melodic lines with only the barest of contrapuntal tangents surrounded by a strong rhythmic propulsion essential for dancing. As with all of the best true dance bands the emphasis is on the beat, and Post has correctly limited the ensemble’s arrangements to those that do not detract from its prevalence. In the process the band has a highly directed sound that fits well into the types of venues and audiences for which they perform.
With such being the intent of the ensemble, the importance of the bassist and drummer are brought to the fore. Post’s solidly built lines and full timbral presence, when combined with drummer Paul Pizzuti’s heavy backbeat oriented swing ride-time rhythms, gives the ensemble the thrust they need in order to achieve success. Together this tandem is as highly locked together in gear as the top NASCAR automobile engines; in both instances tremendous power is generated.
The horn section members perform their parts well, and obviously understand the importance of accents, like-minded articulation execution and cut-off releases that add to a piece’s excitement rather than serve to demonstrate showiness.
Pianist, and vocalist on five of the disc’s 12 tracks, John Bowers has a rollicking pianist style reminiscent of barrel-house piano, and as a vocalist seems to take his cue from such throw-back swing groups as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Bowers’ vocal style is full-in-the-face like a large train racing out of control that is unbelievably brought safely into the station by the end of every song. If not using the disc to accompany dancing, it’s his singing that easily captures one’s attention the most and is truly one of the main highlights of this release.
Because the emphasis is on dancing the ensemble’s soloists correctly stay away from playing lines that are too involved, realizing the intent is to accompany dancing and not the other way around. With the song material all being original compositions listing them here would mean nothing, but even with that detriment - dancers tend to like to dance to melodies they’re familiar with - this is a great disc to pick up for the next time your civic group wants to stage a sock-hop and you personally live too far away to hire the band themselves.