Mr. Rhythmist Goes To Town
few bands on the modern swing circuit can boast anything more
extravagant than seven members, much less admit to playing real
"swing" rather than souped-up jump blues with a heavy
rock backbeat. those that can are frequently cursed with recorded
material sounding like a roomful of tired old musicians playing
stock arrangelents of the classic tunes everybody knows, with
the enthusiasm one might experience standing in line at the DMV.
Well, a new window just opened for service, and whose face should
appear but the smiling visage of Dean Mora! Mora's Modern Rhythmists'
sophomore release, Mr. Rhythmist Goes To Town, is packed
to the gills with 21 smoking arrangements of early swing-era gems
that less-experienced listeners may find unfamiliar but are just
as danceable as the better-known standards. Dancers and recreational
swing enthusiasts alike will find it difficult to ignore the intensity
and fervor with which these cats beat out finger-poppin', toe-tappin'
numbers orginally composed and aranged between 1931 and 1936.
the opening number, Benny Goodman and Arthur Schutt's jumping "Georgia
Jubilee," which features rolling melodies, sweet clarinet and
muted cornet solos, to the closing scorcher, "Night Ride,"
recorded live at L.A.'s historic Orpheum Theater, this disc is made
up primarily of instrumental delicacies. Standouts include "Blue
Minor," "Mr. Ghost goes To Town," "Chant of
the Weed," the blazing "Jungle Jazz," and "Dancing
with a Debutante." But the album also contains several vocal
tracks featuring band members Joh Reynolds (guitar) and Jim Ziegler
(trumpet/cornet) exercising their windpipes, as well as featured
vocalist Kayre Morrison and Dean himself. Particuarly entertaining
is "The Mayor of Alabam'," which goes straight for the
funny bone with its witty repartee between Ms. Morrison and Mr.
Zeigler as she disputes his claim to the title of "the swingin'
king of jam." (No, you ain't Oh, yes I am!)
claims he has harbored a passion for the msuic of the 1920s and
'30s since seeing the movie The Sting at age eleven, which
explains why Mr. Rhythmist Goes To Town is so heavily seasoned
with the staccato rhythms, complex percussion, and intricate melodies,
and occasionally blazing tempos typical of hot jazz and early
orchestral swing. For fans of the Tin Pan alley sound, early Chick
Webb, Fletcher Henderson, or Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra,
this disc is an absolute must-have. Check out Mora's modern Rhythmists
at your own rick, but be forewarned: This band swings with enough
pep, vim and verve to whip the gang at the DMV into a frenzy!
Chad "DJ Chops" Kincaid