The Flying Neutrinos

I'd Rather Be in New Orleans

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At first, the Flying Neutrinos come across like a New Orleans variation of the Squirrel Nut Zippers -- which, admittedly, is a clever concept. In all of the swing-revival mania of the late '90s, there wasn't a single band that decided to get loose and bluesy by following swing's cousin, New Orleans jazz and R&B. The New York-based Flying Neautrinos do that, complete with a sultry, Billie Holiday-influenced lead singer, Ingrid Lucia. The difference is, their debut album I'd Rather Be In New Orleans is played completely straight-faced and sober. Apart from a Shel Silverstein tune, there's very little of the novelty that characterizes the swing revolution, which may make the album more enjoyable for some purists. But like their swinging cousins, the Flying Neutrinos appear on record as if they would be a better proposition in a live arena. True, I'd Rather Be in New Orleans is an entertaining album, but it's a bit too mannered -- which is especially frustrating since the best moments suggest that they're a good live band who can be truly captivating in a live setting. On record, they sound a little constrained, especially since they rarely take any risks in their solos, but they never fall into stodginess like many trad-jazz groups. There's enough swing, style and tunes on I'd Rather Be in New Orleans to keep it entertaining, and even if the group never quite transcends its own reverence for the past or develops a signature sound, it's refreshing to hear a younger band play classic New Orleans music after years of rehashed swing.

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