0 Amos Perine, from NO DEPRESSION, reviews A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas

Chaise Lounge – A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas

As with its other eight albums, the band on this 2013 Christmas album is the embodiment of playful and seductive jazz, with gorgeous vocals by Marilyn Older. Full of wit and charm, with a martini always within reach, this is the one I have played most often over the past few years. Cool, yet festive, this mix of originals and holiday faves enables you to both enjoy the season while letting your mind wander. Whether you’re trimming the tree or wrapping presents, you find yourself humming and swinging along.

In lesser hands, this would sound annoyingly cute or, worse, self-indulgently retro. Not these fine six folks, with Older effortlessly evoking the classic vocalists of the 1950s and Charlie Barnett leading another four of the most accomplished jazz musicians in the Washington, DC, area. Together, they are sublime. The highlight without a doubt is “Snow Day,” which brings back memories of all those days off from school. But this time around it’s a day for adults in love to spend a day playing outside in the snow without a care in the world. Chaise Lounge has a show, holiday-themed, I think, coming up at Washington’s Blues Alley next week. If you are anywhere near, catch them. I did a couple years back and I still tingle from that performance.

A treasured trek to the Tarheel State

The Rooster’s Wife is a Brigadoon-like venue that springs to life once a week in a building that used to be a plumbing supply warehouse. Located in the tiny town of Aberdeen, North Carolina, the concert hall is the singular vision of one person, Janet Kenworthy, who loves live music in a way that bakers love bread and flowers love rain. It is partly the depth of her passion that attracts great bands from all over North America, and it’s partly the crowd that she has cultivated. At the odd time of 6:46 PM (every show starts then), an audience of enthusiastic and knowledgable music lovers assembles in this unlikely spot. The confluence of good music and a good audience is the magic formula that every band dreams of. It’s why we were honored to make the pilgrimage to Aberdeen again this year for a Mother’s Day show. Thanks Janet, for making this happen. And thanks to North Carolina-based photographer John Gessner for his wonderful shots of the evening.

Tommy Barrick at the Rooster's Wife by John Gessner

Tommy Barrick at the Rooster’s Wife (photo: John Gessner)

Joe Jackson at the Rooster's Wife by John Gessner

Joe Jackson at the Rooster’s Wife (photo: John Gessner)

Pete Ostle at the Rooster's Wife by John Gessner

Pete Ostle at the Rooster’s Wife (photo: John Gessner)

Marilyn Older at The Rooster's Wife by John Gessner

Marilyn Older at The Rooster’s Wife (photo: John Gessner)

“Full of wit, charm, and elegance”

Thanks to Amos Perrine for his very kind words in No Depression—our first review in this authoritative journal of American roots music:

I first saw Chaise Lounge by accident a couple years back, and what I thought might be a tragically hip retro band turned out to be completely the opposite. Much like Chris Siebert, who leads Lavay Smith’s band, and Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini, Charlie Barnett keeps the band’s eye firmly focused on the musical prize, but with a dry martini on the side.

Their latest, Gin Fizz Fandango, is at once playful and seductive jazz, sometimes with gorgeous vocals by Marilyn Older, and other times it’s Joe Jackson’s trombone that makes you feel you are in the middle of a Fellini movie, as he evokes ghosts of Nino Rota.

This, their seventh album since 1999, is full of wit, charm, and elegance that could only come from a jazz band harkening back to the golden age, but without a fatal sense of nostalgic irony. The disc is full of originals, save for one Cole Porter tune. Like a gin fizz, Chaise Lounge tickles not only your senses, but your fancy as well. The album is out now, so tango on over.