Dan Barrett

Melody in Swing

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Dan Barrett emerged as one of the top young trombonists during the mid-'80s; his ninth date as a leader for Arbors Records finds him leading a quintet through a marvelous collection of swing songs, many of which have been overlooked for a long time or never received widespread attention in the first place. "Melody in Swing" features Barrett's effortless swing and great tone in an easygoing arrangement. He adds a mute for his languid bittersweet solo during the gently swinging "Carelessly," backed by pianist Ray Sherman's rapid runs. "What Is This Thing Called Love?" has a mysterious introduction that adds a touch of campiness, while Barrett's muted horn almost sounds like an old-time crooner on the relaxed arrangement of "There Is No Greater Love," a piece almost always heard at a breakneck tempo by many jazz groups. The capable rhythm section includes guitarist Eddie Erickson, bassist Dave Stone, and drummer Jeff Hamilton ("Canadian" Jeff to Dan & company, to avoid confusion with the Jeff Hamilton who has worked with Ray Brown and also the Clayton Brothers). The delicious "Gravy Waltz," an early-'60s collaboration between the late pianist/singer/comedian Steve Allen and bassist Ray Brown, showcases Erickson on banjo and some fine arco bass by Stone, as well as the leader, in a fun-filled finale to this highly recommended CD.

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