Stomp Stomp Swing Band • Handful of Swing

Back in the spring of 2020, before most of the world knew what was about to hit it, a French five-piece was putting the finishing touches on a debut album “made for dancers and swing lovers.” Named Handful of Swing, it was the first full record they had pressed after several years of plying their trade live. Mixing dance floor favorites with lesser heard classics—including numbers made famous by Fats Waller, Louis Jordan, Count Basie, Django Reinhardt, and more—it’s a solid ten-track addition to any jazz fan’s library. While most are sympathetic renditions of their original or most famous versions, there is a certain amount of inventive rearrangement here. “Tickle Toe” exemplifies the former approach, in which Stomp Stomp’s sections align with Basie’s and soloists largely stay close to their forebears’ original, athletic lines. Instrumentation is also much the same—with the notable exception of the intro, in which Basie’s bassline is beefed up with brass. And Thomas Mayeras really works at those keys, it must be said—even more so than Basie did, on his 1940 recording. Similar could be said of “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” with its charmingly Gallic vocal from drummer David Avrit. “Green Hill” sticks closely to most famous versions of James P. Johnson’s “The Charleston”, while “Baby Brown” walks a sort of middle path, filling out
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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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