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Being a Bear by Dan Barrett and His Jazz Bears

It's intergenerational, boys and girls, and it's fun! Now, this CD arrives too late for my grandkids and it won't give your kiddies an appreciation of later Trane or even early Bird. However, trombonist Barrett and company are just the folks to start youngsters out on their jazz experience with cheerful and accessible small group swing, a pretty good leaping-off point. Just right for a Christmas stocking stuffer!

Barrett's basic bear contingent includes straight-ahead vocalist (and guitarist) Rebecca Kilgore, who really knows where those notes are, spirited trumpeter Spanky Davis and a rhythm section of John Sheridan, Paul Kellar and Jeff Hamilton. Jim Galloway ,on soprano and bari, drops in to the bear lair for "Mama Don't Allow" while that man of many horns, Scott Robinson, only brings along his clarinet, bari, alto, bass sax and bass clarinet for use in "Animation" and Lunceford's "Rhythm in My Nursery Rhymes." Back in 1984, he played over thirty instruments, including ophicleide, normaphone and double-bell euphonium, on his LP, "Multiple Instruments." Now that would really impress the small fry!

If all goes well, this CD will eventually be the soundtrack for a jazz-related animated film to be written by the lyricist, David Schacker. His originals, written mainly with Dan Barrett, are "Being a Bear, "The Jam Song, "Animation," "At the Jazz Bears Jamboree," and "Copey's Lament." Scott Robinson's contribution is "Ursa the Blues." The group swings out on "Sing, Sing, Sing," "The Music Goes Round and Round," and several other lively and durable oldies. And luckily for we grown-ups, the CD closes with a lullaby, "Little Man, You've Had a Busy Day."

This is a romp for the romper room crowd and their older relatives! Wouldn't it be cool if Diz, with his childlike qualities and hip sense of humor, were still with us to participate in a Volume Two?

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Dan Barrett and His Jazz Bears
  • CD Title: Being a Bear
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: Arbors
  • Rating: Five Stars
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