Our hometown Christmas show is always a highlight of our year. It has become a tradition, but we still like to switch things up a bit. So this year, our “opening act” was the North Chevy Chase Elementary School Holiday Glee Club. A more enthusiastic group of fourth graders you will not find! Maybe you recognize their pink-suited conductor. Charlie served as “composer in residence” at the school for a week earlier this year, so when we needed some kid singers to add to the mix, he knew just where to go.
We were thrilled to have a packed house at Bethesda Blues & Jazz. There is no better way to start the holidays than that. Along with songs from our Christmas album, we played some old favorites and premiered a brand new song called “Gin Fizz Fandango.” It is a strange and groovy tune in a slow three-four that features a bravura solo by Joe Jackson on trombone and a star turn by Marilyn Older on piano. We are looking forward to playing this song a lot in 2015!
There is a club in the tiny, tiny town of Aberdeen, North Carolina, called The Rooster’s Wife. Playing there recently was one of the most satisfying concert experiences of our collective lives. The funky venue is beautiful, the audience is a sophisticated, musically educated crowd, and the performers are treated like royalty. Janet Kenworthy has created a nearly magical experience that that appears, like Brigadoon, each Sunday night at 6:46 PM. If you are within 250 miles…GO.
Thanks to Ann Alex of northeast England’s Bebop Spoken Here jazz blog for this astute review of Dot Dot Dot:
I enjoyed this CD so much that I played it twice, and no reviewer can give higher praise than that. And the inserts were a reviewer’s dream – all the song words were supplied, with a short and accurate description of each track, photos of all the musicians, not just the vocalist, and musicians listed as above in an egalitarian way, the drummer not left till last, nor the vocalist mentioned first. The impression given is one of genuine teamwork.
And the CD is full of jaunty fun, only one sad song, a CD suitable for parties and also for quiet listening. Indeed many tracks are very danceable too, so I’d recommend this disc to our local Newcastle Swing Dancers. It includes “Let’s Face The Music And Dance,” played with a distinct two-beat. There are 3 other standards; “Cool” (from West Side Story), “Via Con Me,” and “Old Man River.” Nine tracks are originals with lively, witty lyrics, and there is a short joke track which you can use to check out your stereo! Many of the original songs have a jazzy 1930s feel. To quote from one of the track descriptions for “It’s Always You,” “…Tommy Barrick’s groove with Pete Ostle is insistent and funky, the horn lines are as hip as can be, and the melody is an ear-worm….” For an example of amusing lyrics I quote from “I Just Want All My Stuff” (a song about divorce): “He hopes that we’ll stay friends/and that we’ll stay in touch/Me? I’m kind of hoping/He gets run down by a bus.” The title track, “Dot Dot Dot,” is about a love affair seen as sailing through choppy waters, so Morse Code is part of the song. Other song themes include a fantasy about little blue men, loving a man because of his trendy car and complaining about a date who keeps you waiting. The instrumental of “Old Man River” is fast with a stunning drum solo.
Chaise Lounge have been together for 12 years, are well known in the USA, and have 6 albums to their credit. The CD was issued in September on Modern Songbook Records.
Our thanks to Doug Boynton of Girl Singers for this enthusiastic review of our new record:
Still working to make retro modern, this east coast band scores again. Outstanding musicians. Smart lyrics. A vocalist who knows how to both sing and play with the lyrics.
And best of all, they all seem to be having a lot of fun.
Lyrics (“I Just Want All of My Stuff”) like:
He wishes all the best for me
And hopes I’ll move on soon
Well I’ve got myself a rental truck
And I’ll be out by noon.
Who pulls this off? Marilyn Older gives the voice to Charlie Barnett’s lyrics, always taking the high road, throwing this stuff off with a straight face. In the process, she gives new life to old classics like West Side Story’s “Cool,” or a very uptempo “Via Con Me,” with English lyrics to Paolo Conte’s Italian classic that’s been covered more than two dozen times in the past 30 years.
But while covers can pay the rent, it’s the original stuff that gets noticed. Mr. Barnett has the material, and Ms. Older delivers the goods.
It would be a disservice not to say that for me, Ms. Older’s vocals are the capper to a versatile group that includes Pete Ostle on bass, Joe Jackson on trombone, Tom Barrick on drums, and Gary Gregg on sax and clarinet. They’re able to take this kind of material – and in a world that’s been Mad Men-ed to death, pay homage to both the past, and to make it sound fresh, too. The band shows their stuff on two instrumentals, one the original (Mr. Barnett, again) “Señor Hueso,” the other on a very uptempo “Old Man River.”
Highest recommendation for this sixth disc from this band.