Smiles & Chuckles is the Royal City Saxophone Quartet's jovial tribute to the Six Brown Brothers, a Canadian vaudeville act that created a sensation on the North American circuit in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Whether as a part of the Ringling Brothers' Circus or as an independent touring ensemble, they frequently played various combinations of band instruments, including cornets and clarinets, but featured all-saxophone numbers in their rousing finales. Their music has been arranged to suit the present ensemble's homogeneous blend of soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones. The Six Brown Brothers appear to have favored foxtrots, of which nine are presented here, along with various marches, waltzes, and rags to round out this sampling of the group's popular repertoire. With irreverent effects, such as laughing slides and flutter-tonguing, the music is consistently light and entertaining, with only a few wistful touches to shade the mood. To lend some historical perspective, two bonus tracks are provided. Comedy Tom and Smiles & Chuckles, as performed in 1917 by the Brothers for the Victor Talking Machine Company, are primary examples of their jaunty style, which the Royal City Saxophone Quartet has quite effectively assimilated.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson