Friday, February 12, 2010

Marshall Ford Swing Band & Joe Deninzon Trio

While being buried in with snow here in the Mid-Atlantic; we've been listening to a lot of music. Two that we'd like to share are from the Marshall Ford Swing Band and the Joe Deninzon Trio. Each disc has put a smile on our face during this week of shoveling snow.

The Marshall Ford Swing Band is a five-piece ensemble based out of Austin, Texas that play old time Western swing in the tradition of Johnny Gimble, Bob Wills, and Hank Thompson. In fact, the band is partially fronted by the grand daughter of Gimble, Emily Ann Gimble - who also contributes the piano. Greg Harkins (guitar) is the other frontman and along with Jeremy Wheeless (guitar), James Gwyn (drums) and Kristopher Wade (upright bass) - round out the band. And from the very first track of "It's About Dam Time", I've enjoyed their music. There is a little of everything in this CD, mostly swing, but also some old time country, some jazz, and even some Texas blues. No two songs are similar and is the unique CD that could only come out of Austin - definitely not from corporate Nashville. The CD starts with straight western Swing and Lyla Lou - and if this song doesn't wipe a grimace off your face - something is wrong. They slow it down with some old school country in Roy Lanham's Trouble, Trouble. Love the alternating vocals. Next is a county waltz and the first original piece - The Barroom Waltz - a place where there's not a care in the world. Next are covers of two famous songs Irving Berlin's Marie and grandpa Gimble's You're Why. Their interpretation of Old Joe's Hittin' the Jug sounded straight from another Austin band - The Belleville Outfit. The remainder of the CD is the same - some originals - some covers - some instrumentals - but all fun songs to listen to, especially Pickles n Tomatoes. And I love Gimble's vocals in I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire; some old school jazz vocals. In sum, this CD made shoveling snow a lot less painful.

Ever since listening to the latest from the The John Jorgenson Quintet, I've been in a jazz mood and a short sample CD from Joe Deninzon Trio came just in time to satiate my appetite. The CD is Ellipsis and should be available sometime this month. From reading Deninzon's bio I learned that he is considered the Jimi Hendrix of the violin - obviously very well respected. But then I realized that Deninzon is the leader of the rock-funk band Stratospheerius and I became even more interested in this disc. The first track (Bodhissatva) immediately grabbed my attention as Deninzon's violin sounded more like a fiddle than a classical violin - and combined with the Trio's bass and guitar - was an awesome arrangement. The second track, Nuages, was the complete opposite - slow and classic - and here Steve Bensen's jazz guitar really worked well with the violin. Great finale in that song as well. Jitterbug is more playful with a strong bass solo from Robert Bowen. And finally, Sun Goes Down starts as almost something out of a Western, but then female vocals ensued which produced a classic jazz sound. I'm looking forward to the full CD.

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