If you like swinging big-band blues, this is a no-lose proposition. The eight-member backup outfit consists of jazz veterans who have played with giants like Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, and Duke Ellington; lead singer Smith, a kid by comparison, only sounds as if she lived through the big-band era. Half a dozen of the San Francisco group's sparkling originals fit right in with classics first popularized by the likes of Helen Humes, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, and Count Basie. The spirited performances benefit from first-rate musicianship, a sense of humor, and the group's refusal to try to update the genre they call home. As they prove on every one of the 16 tracks, this music works just as well today as it did in the '20s, '30s, '40s, and '50s.
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AllMusic Review by Jeff Burger