All eras of jazz are being played somewhere. Swing is very much alive in certain pockets of the world. Austin, Texas, is the home for the Brooks Prumo Orchestra, a 12-piece big band led by its rhythm guitarist. The only major name in the personnel of their debut album, Pass The Bounce, is drummer Hal Smith—although the lineup includes such fine soloists as trumpeter Adrian Ruiz, trombonist Mark Gonzales, David Jellema on clarinet and cornet, tenor-saxophonist Jonathan Doyle, and pianist Dan Walton, with Alice Spencer contributing occasional pleasing vocals that are inspired by the top singers of the late 1930s.
The Brooks Prumo Orchestra succeeds at sounding like a top-notch swing band from 1940-41, one that is very aware of their role of playing for dancers. Some of the music is from the repertoire of the Count Basie Orchestra but the arrangements are different than the recorded versions and there are also two originals. Highlights include “Benny’s Bugle,” a version of “Losers Weepers” that is slower than Tommy Dorsey’s version, “Dinah,” “Swing, Brother, Swing,” “Esquire Bounce,” and “The Last Jump.”
Pass The Bounce (an obscure song from Gene Krupa’s band) is great fun and will be enjoyed by listeners and dancers alike.
Pass The Bounce (Self-released, 16 selections, TT = 54:04) www.brooksprumoorchestra.com