Swing is back. You'll find it on TV commercials. Swing dancers abound, although with more emphasis on aerobics than on jive. For some, however, swing never went away. This is true of the players on Swing Live with their 21st century version of the Benny Goodman small group sound.
Dizzy once said "It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play." Bucky Pizzarelli, the leader on this live date at Makor, a Manhattan club, has learned this lesson well. His solos, whether energetic chording or single note lines, recognize that more isn't everything. And swing! Chesky calls him "one of the three great living exponents of swing guitar." Who are the other two?
Allen Vaché brings his fluid clarinet technique to the BG role. Peter Appleyard's style on vibes is just right for Hampton while Bernard Purdie presides over his drum set with a featherlight touch. And that Michael Moore! His rich tone on bass is a major factor in updating the small group sound. Check out his bowed solo on "If I Had You."
Other tunes include "Sweet Sue," "Dinah," "Limehouse Blues," "Lester Leaps In," and "Perdido." The veteran swingsters salute Bird and Diz with a "Salt Peanuts" intro to "Lester" and that well known alternate melody to "Perdido." "Too Marvelous" turns out to be an inspired blues with a "Blue Monk" solo by Moore.
This is not a mere repertory performance. Everyone brings something original to the mix. There are songs here that Benny played and some he didn't. This group with their intuitive interplay and respect for the BG sound will have you believing he played them all.
Excellent recording quality by Chesky as always. If swing's your thing, Swing Live is a keeper!