Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders

Do you enjoy hot small-group swing? Then Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders’ self-titled CD is definitely for you. Bassist Gamble utilizes an octet or a nonet on a set of swing standards and obscurities, sometimes bringing back the memory of the Benny Goodman Sextet of 1940, a group with trumpeter Cootie Williams, tenor-saxophonist Georgie Auld and guitarist Charlie Christian that was actually a seven-piece group.

Melodic solos are often backed by riffing horns, the solos sound very much of the period, and the ensembles are consistently exciting. Goodman’s group is not the only role model for one also hears tributes to Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Artie Shaw’s Gramercy Five, Count Basie and Billie Holiday. Laura Windley does a fine job in the Lady Day role, taking four vocals while drummer Russ Wilson does effective singing on two Eddie Condon-style jams.

Hot Jazz Jubile

But even with the references to earlier jazz greats, the musicians never merely copy the past. While guitarist Jonathan Stout does a very good job of capturing Charlie Christian’s sound, the soloists generally solo in their own voices. Keenan McKenzie and Paul Cosentino take clarinet and tenor solos (I wish that it was identified who plays what where), Gordon Au and Noah Hocker alternate on trumpets, Lucian Cobb and David Wilken take turns on trombones, and Craig Gildner and James Posedel both prove to be excellent swing/stride pianists.

However it is the sound of the full band in their stirring riff-filled ensembles that really make this CD a delight, both for listeners and swing dancers alike.

Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders (Organic Records OR16552, 18 selections, TT = 62:42)


This album was reviewed a second time, read that here: Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders

Scott Yanow

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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