Bombay Jim and the Swinging Sapphires

Keep Honkin'

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Jim Porcella's second album with his New England based Swinging Sapphires continues to explore jump swing made popular by the likes of Louis Jordan and Louis Prima. With the chairs occupied by top jazz artists in the New England area, the band romps through a play list that has eight pieces from their earlier Swinging Sapphires CD, Not Just Visiting. These tracks have been remixed, and some arrangements have been changed slightly. Nonetheless, the new stuff makes this album quite attractive. Porcella's vocalizing fits in perfectly with the happy mood established by the band, especially on the up-tempo pieces. There are a couple of originals by Porcella and by the lead trumpeter Dick Lowell, including a jump blues "How Can I Miss You," where there's a jiving solo by the very good guitarist Jon Wheatley, along with a pleading vocal by Porcella. The session is kicked along by a sizzling rhythm section of Tom La Mark and Matt Richards taking turns on piano, Mark Carlsen's bouncing bass, and the engine's spark plug, the drums of Gary Johnson. Although there are some good solos -- just about everyone gets a chance on "Come on With the 'Come On'" -- what makes this album and the band work is the tight ensemble playing. There's no sloppiness here -- these guys are pros. Listen, for example, to Dick Lowell and Jeff Stout play trumpet tag on "Air Mail Special" with the rest of the band blowing underneath them. This is a fun album for both listening and dancing, and is recommended even though it duplicates some material from the first release.

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