Trumpeter Duke Heitger gathered together a septet of young swing and classic jazz greats for Krazy Kapers. Heitger's style ranges from Bunny Berigan to Louis Armstrong without copying either, Evan Christopher has continued to grow as a clarinetist and occasional altoist year by year, and Brian Ogilvie has fluent styles on both tenor and clarinet. The rhythm section (pianist Steve Pistorius, guitarist John Parker, bassist James Singleton, and John Gill on drums, guitar, and banjo) is excellent too. The 13 songs on this set mostly date from the late '20s and 1930s, but these versions are not mere recreations of the past. Sometimes the renditions hint at earlier recordings, but the arrangements are fresh and usually a bit different than expected, being creative within the genre of the era. The five musician vocals (three by Heitger) are fine, the ensembles balance well between being jammed and arranged, and the use of steel guitarist John Fohl on two Hawaiian songs ("Blue Hawaii" and "Song of the Islands") is a charming bonus. Other highlights include "Savoy Blues," Don Redman's "No One Else but You," "Just a Gigolo," and Jelly Roll Morton's "Frog-I-More Rag." "I Want to Be Happy" explodes with joy and Heitger does a fine job of emulating Cootie Williams on "Solitude." Suffice it to say that classic jazz, Dixieland, and swing collectors will all enjoy Krazy Kapers.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow