The New Wonders

You can bet an album review is going to be positive when, by the time you read it, I’ve already learned to play parts of it on the piano. Such is the case with The New Wonders, the eponymous new record by Mike Davis’s NYC septet. “Reaching for Someone (And Not Finding Anyone There)”—with its winsome chromatic melody and finger-tapping triplets—quickly became one of those tunes I absent-mindedly hummed while driving or washing up. Very soon, I’d decided that I liked it enough to make it part of my own set list, having never heard any rendition but this one. (It was recorded by Paul Whiteman in 1929, it turns out.) I usually listen to a record at least three times before sitting down to write about it: once to get a feel for it, a second time to decide whether or not I like it and a third time to take notes on it. Before I’d even penned a word about this fresh release, the CD was almost worn out. Unveiled just this month, it’s a truly addictive selection of dance hall classics, obscure rarities, and ancient movie themes delivered by a band which has the speakeasy sound down to a tee. Mike Davis turned pro even before graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, appearing as sideman to Dandy Wellington, Glenn Crytzer, and Terry Waldo amongst others. He is a true devotee of 1920s style: the dress, the hair, and particularly the sound. His own outfit “craft[s] each
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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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