The Chicago Cellar Boys • Busy ’Til Eleven

As heard on this disc, the Chicago Cellar Boys is not your typical “trad” or “dixie jam” band. Having evolved from another group (The Fat Babies, now minus trombone and drums) the sources that The Cellar Boys employ are 1920s jazz records, utilizing tight and complicated arrangements that reflect to varying degrees the original performances. The excellent musicianship by everyone (including mostly original solos) and dedication to this source approach makes the music heard here sound as though it could have been recorded in the 1920s, but with much better fidelity. What is truly amazing is that this group is comprised of only five players (two horns, three rhythm) yet with instrument doubling, without overdubbed recording, the listener can be convinced that he or she is listening to a larger ensemble. The opening selection with its eccentric intro, “Hot Lips,” is mostly drawn faithfully from a 1927 recording by a band called Bill Brown and his Brownies. About midway through comes a vocal done with period expertise by pianist Paul Asaro, then an uncommon improvised ensemble to the conclusion by the band. Asaro’s vocals, which occur on about a third of the selections, are the most notable additions to the original 1920s performances. The bluesy “I’m Busy and You Can’t Come In” is one of his vocal highlights. Most of the instrument doubling here is done by cornet
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Ted des Plantes is an Ohio-based multi-instrumentalist who has been involved with numerous traditional jazz groups in a career spanning 50 years. Find a number of recordings he has released on his TdP Productions label on Bandcamp

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