Andrew Dickeson’s Blue Rhythm Band • Swingin’ The Blues

Describing themselves as “a band for dancers and listeners alike,” Australian outfit Andrew Dickeson’s Blue Rhythm Band have been delighting swing fans around their native Sydney for almost a decade. Now the whole world has a chance to get to know the foursome, following the release in late 2021 of their debut disc Swingin’ The Blues. This initial effort is an unashamed album of crowd-pleasing floor-fillers, reflecting their popularity on the Antipodean swing dance scene. Think the biggest hits of Count Basie, Chick Webb, Jimmie Lunceford, and more—with just a couple of slower numbers thrown in for everyone to catch their breath. It’s a set list sure to grab the eye of jitterbugs worldwide, while offering something novel for non-dancing swing fans to get their ears around. That’s because these versions are substantially rearranged, to squeeze a big band-worthy sound out of a four-piece combo. Brad Child’s tenor sax does a lot of heavy lifting, carrying the entire brass sections represented in the classic recordings. The result is mellow and cool—Basie’s “Splanky” sounds particularly languid with the sax to the fore, compared with the original muted trumpet. Likewise, “Undecided” sounds smoother than in either its Webb or Goodman manifestations, which give the melody to the alto saxes and clarinets respectively. The effect reminds me of one of my favorite
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Dave Doyle is a swing dancer, dance teacher, and journalist based in Gloucestershire, England. Write him at [email protected]. Find him on Twitter @DaveDoyleComms.

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