Big Bill Bissonnette

International Jazz Band 1997 1st Half

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Trad jazz in its moldiest form is featured on the first of two CDs from a 1997 concert. Trombonist Big Bill Bissonnette, who contributes effectively rambunctious vocals on "Exactly Like You" and "St. Louis Blues," models his playing after Jim Robinson. Cornetist Fred Vigorito is a bit reminiscent of Kid Thomas Valentine, and tenor saxophonist Sarah Bissonnette is a stomping player. Soprano saxophonist George Probert's upper register can be a bit hard to take at times, but he certainly swings hard. The ensembles are not always perfectly in tune but they are quite listenable and often exciting, particularly on "Don't Give Up the Ship," and the rhythm section is excellent. One cannot deny the high spirits and infectious nature of this music, with the better selections including "Dippermouth Blues," "Exactly Like You," "Rose Room," and the two songs already mentioned.