The Fat Babies

18th & Racine

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Maybe the Fat Babies play classic Chicago jazz but don't call them revivalists: there's no schtick, no cutesiness, in their act. 18th & Racine, their second album for Delmark (it takes its title from the address of Honky Tonk BBQ, a Windy City joint where they regularly gig), makes that plain. On this 2013 set, the group draws from the classic Chicago and New Orleans songbook -- there are tunes by Eddie Condon, Hoagy Carmichael, Jabbo Smith, and Fletcher Henderson -- and they don't bother switching up their arrangements but they do make pains to keep this music hot and jumping, cherishing not simply the old music but the spark behind it. Robert G. Koester's production keeps things simple and sweet, resulting in a record that feels like an old-fashioned party.

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