Warren Vaché

Mrs. Vache's Boys

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Profuse thanks are given to mom Madeline, who worked at Decca Records when she met Warren Sr., then insisted her boys practice daily. The result is this recording, played by two of the best baby boomers in the swing jazz business. Warren Jr.'s cornet musings have never been livelier or more clearly executed, while Allan Vaché, truly an underrated clarinetist, shines with the best of the current crop. Guitarist Howard Alden, the great pianist Eddie Higgins, bassist Phil Flanigan, and drummer Ed Metz, Jr. round out the excellent backup band. Some of the 12 tunes have the full sextet. Warren plays flügelhorn with Higgins only for the pristine "London by Night," and it's just Higgins, Flanigan, and Metz for the Benny Goodman evergreen "If Dreams Come True," Higgins quoting "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me." Dig Warren, Alden, and Flanigan, and Alden especially plucky solo during Bud Freeman's "The Eel's Nephew," while Allan and Alden go it by themselves on the serene "Londonderry Air" aka "Danny Boy." There are three Duke Ellington tunes; "Just Squeeze Me" with Warren's fresh-squeezed wah-wah cornet, Higgins quoting "Music, Music, Music," a bass guitar workout introducing the well-swung "Cottontail," Higgins quoting "We're in the Money," and the joyful guitar-clarinet-cornet unison melody of "What Am I Here For?" There's a fresh take on Miles Davis' "All Blues," changing up the harmonics of the waltz, Higgins shimmering piano, and Warren's muted, Miles-evoked sound accenting. A bossa version of "Tangerine" is quite different, Alden's fat chords and cat-quick lines form the centerpiece. For evidence of Allan's clarinet mastery check out his upbeat take on "I'll Remember April," Higgins quoting "Jeannine," while the out-and-out swinger "Just Friends" is staggering in its counterpointed trading of lines between brothers, quite deserving of a huge wow! It's unlikely you'll hear a hotter band than this one for this type of authentic, traditional jazz. Never stuffy, always on top of every fresh bar, with no looking back to past glories despite the older repertoire, the Vache brothers conjure something extra special within their musical partnership. Highly recommended.

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