Magri and his New Orleans Jazz Band
Shim Sham Revue
not just the cover of Ronnie Magri's album Shim Sham Revue
that conjures up visions of Burlesque. With the bawdy-house
horns and suggestive rhythms evidenced throughout this
collection of classics, the "show" is so palpable
that I find myself missing it...and that might be this
album's only shortcoming.
of the songs are proven; Ellington's "Mood Indigo"
and "Black and Tan Fantasy" need no introduction;
classics like "Moonglow" and "Deacon's
Hop" likewise stand alone. The gift of Magri and
his group of skilled players is infusing these compositions
with the distinctive flavor of Storyville, the old red-light
district of New Orleans.
drumming is understated, leaving plenty of room for the
bodily percussions of imagined enchantresses. Duke Heitger
plays the muted trumpet as well as any man has a right
to, especially on a notably gritty rendition of "The
Mooche", and plays just as well on an almost puritan
"Stormy Weather." The arrangements are all solid,
and the supporting horn work of Evan Christopher, Jerry
Jumonville, and Brian Ogilvie nicely complement the steady
lines of bassist James Singleton and the titillating trills
of pianist Joe Krown.
one song features vocals, "One Monkey Don't Stop
No Show", and it's the least memorable of the many
fine cuts on this disc. Marcy Hesseling sings like a featured
performer in a gentleman's club, which sadly is not a
credit to her vocal gifts. Perhaps her show is better
livebut I'm not here to review that kind of shenanigans.
I'm just here to say that this one's a keeper.