Second album from the Echos of Swing – German Quartet led by British trumpeter Colin T. Dawson, playing traditional jazz music seems to be the perfect choice for the summer time review. Issued under the Good Time Jazz series, just like their Blue Pepper debut, it continues bringing nice and chilly moments to the listeners. It was laying around for quite a long time, so I did spin it to give it a go.
The music the quartet plays reminds us that Jazz, when it came first time was actually a dance music! All wrote for fun, entertainment and for people’s joy in general. From crazy barns where first the black plantation labourers kept coming after work to relax till the ballroom days when shiny brass band was playing music for couples enjoying dancing.
So we have here the Ragtime Dance f.ex., well known Joplin’s standard, played in full respect to the Rag tradition, but with a little Dixie drums treatment as well as nice stylish coloraturas added by trumpeter. The main band’s stylist who devoted long time in his life for researching this music tradition.
But we also have Miller’s the Moonlight Serenade. Stylish and gentle without big-band behind. Here Dawson also sings. So he does in Porter’s Dream Dancing. Funny enough his articulation reminds a bit the way that Chet used to sing, with a little melody lines twisted with almost whispered lyrics. Other way there is nothing else what would refer to the West Coast. Johnson’s All you Wanna Do is Dance, on which he also sings, confirms his lack of mannerism completely. Here they play straight joyful Charleston and he sings in purely woodvill style as it belongs to the Art Deco era.
But band’s tribute goes further that careful and stylish interpretation of the Swing era music.
Here we have then an opening Hipsters Hop, composed by saxophonist Chris Hopkins, cleverly written piece in which he merges what Cool Jazz brought to the table into Swing-alike tissue. Still perfect tune to dance to. Another one called the Ballet of the Dunes is equally elegant Caravan-esque like sounding tune bringing memories of Tizol’s original. Wonderful laziness is pictured here with trumpeter’s lines played with plumber in. Slow Mambo makes you want to hold your girlfriend tight and close. What’s not to like ?
Additionally we have here some Latin influence represented by Diplomata by Pixinguinha. With a bit of up tempo treatment it became a fast Rumba, with brass lines refereeing to the original but piano and drums drifting towards pure Cuban Sol. So is Dawson’s wonderful solo in the middle of the piece.
No one would expect to hear the J.S.Bach’s Gavotte I from an English Suites book 6th in that mix , but they did it too. You don’t have to believe me, just listen. As for Gavotte, even if it belongs to 18th century, it still is a dance. And those gents gave it a treatment that would get your lazy four letters back on the parquet. They really did. Check it if you are after romance with the charming melody lines in the background.