newest City Rhythm release began with the bands cutting
only a handful of tracks, but soon flowered into a full-fledged
album teeming with swinging rhythms, sophisticated arrangements,
and polished sound. The bands output is commendablefor
only nine members, they manage to fill any room with an evenbigger
sound, and theres some amazing solo work by pianist Michael
Frank (an Ellingtonian wunderkind) and clarinet player Pete Spina.
albums instrumental numbers are wonderful examples of good
arranging (thanks to veteran Joe Matt) and fun, upbeat rhythms really
animate the songs. The groups interpretations of Caldonia
and Dig That Crazy Chick are delivered cleanly, theres
a positively wicked version of Jubilee Stomp, and the
bands rendition of Sheik of Araby feverishly captures
that electric New Orleans sound, complete with a blazing clarinet
solo and an impressive drum segment. All 17 tracks prove that the
band can be a musical powerhouse, although the originals at times
sound a bit generic. (Beware: some of these City Swing numbers could
be put to commercial use.) And, like many current swing bands, The
City Rhythm Orchestra lacks in vocal creativity. Chanteuse Vicki
Woodlyns voice manages to wax downright soulful on such tracks
as Hit the Road Jack and Ooo Wee, but she
seems to rush through several others. She proves to be the more
talented between her and her male counterpart, Steve Ritrovato,
who, despite the confidence in his voice, really promises nothing
stylistically to his listeners.
the albums few shortcomings, however, the bands energy
shines through, which explains how The City Rhythm Orchestra has
managed to keep dance floors filled since its inception in 1985.
This latest release captures their energetic spirit and delivers
nearly an hours worth of swingin fun worth adding
to your collection.