Kenny Ball

Now 2

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Thirty years after having a surprise pop hit with "Midnight in Moscow," trumpeter Kenny Ball was still playing the dixieland music that he loved. His septet utilized the same trombonist (John Bennett) and drummer (Ron Bowden) as it had in the early days, in addition to newer players (clarinetist Andy Cooper, John Fenner on banjo and electric guitar, pianist Hugh Ledigo and bassist John Benson). Ball's band includes plenty of color and show biz elements in their presentation (which includes some individual features), some of which border on the corny. However, the musicianship is strong and the highlights include "Royal Garden Blues," "Wild Man Blues," "I Want a Big Butter & Egg Man" and a surprise, Gerry Mulligan's "Walkin' Shoes." A worthwhile but not essential CD, the second of three Kenny Ball sets in this series.