Rockin' In Rhythm

Widespread Depression Orchestra

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Rockin' In Rhythm Review

by Scott Yanow

The Widespread Depression Orchestra was an excellent big band that played in a variety of '30s and '40s swing styles during its heyday in the 1970s. For one of its last LPs, it was teamed with Bob Wilber, who is heard as a key soloist on clarinet, soprano sax, and alto sax. The dozen songs on this album (with the exception of two numbers by Johnny Hodges plus Wilber's "The Rabbit Jumps") were all composed by Duke Ellington. In addition to such standards as "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me," "I Got It Bad," and the title cut, the Widespread Depression Orchestra plays such relative obscurities as "Alabamy Home," "V.I.P. Boogie," and "Morning Glory." The personnel of the nine-piece group (which often sounds much larger) includes trumpeter Jordan Sandke and altoist Michael Hashim; there are a few vocals along the way by vibraphonist Jonny Holtzman and tenor saxophonist Dean Nicyper. An enjoyable set, easily recommended to Duke Ellington fans.

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