Pete Krebs & the Kung Pao Chickens

Hot Ginger and Dynamite

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This is a pretty surprising turn, even for an eclectic like Pete Krebs, who has fronted a punk band, done the singer/songwriter turn, collaborated with Elliott Smith, and released albums that nod to Americana and bluegrass. On Hot Ginger and Dynamite, the Portland native takes on early 20th century jazz, including well-known pieces like "Blue Skies" and "Honeysuckle Rose" and rarer stuff like Irving Berlin's "Russian Lullaby." The truth be told, however, this is only slightly more likable than a lot of the neo-traditionalist albums from the swing craze of the '90s -- and one has to wonder if there's a too-healthy dose of ego involved in Krebs' genre roving.

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