[THROWBACK JAZZ] The title of this spiffy new CD accurately describes the local retro-jazzers, who bring a relatively youthful exuberance to 15 concise takes on vintage pre-World War II hits by the era’s greatest bandleaders, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman.
Favorites of Portland’s swing dancing scene, this is a band that knows how to get the feet flying, thanks to the pumping piano and dapper drums of co-founders Andrew Oliver and local Harlem stride specialist Scott Kennedy, who split time on both instruments. The latter gets a nifty solo workout on Jelly Roll Morton’s “Sporting House Rag,” and the ubiquitous Oliver also plays chatty cornet on a half dozen cuts. John Moak’s growly trombone and guitarist Doug Sammons’ sassy vocals (plus a sweet guest vocal by Dee Settlemier on James P. Johnson’s “If I Could Be With You”) lend a tangible period flavor to the proceedings.
While evocations of the hot Chicago, Kansas City and New York scenes also abound on New Old Fashioned, the presence of several Morton cuts, a Sidney Bechet number, and former New Orleans clarinetist and tenor saxophonist David Evans (who’s played with the legendary Pete Fountain) lend a decided Dixie flavor, and it’s on those early hot jazz cuts that the band really cooks, especially on smokin’ opener “Who’s Sorry Now” and Jack Teagarden’s “I’m Gonna Stomp Mr. Henry Lee,” where the Bridgetowners approach the heat of the originals and celebrated revivalists like the Jim Cullum Jazz Band.