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Being a Bear - Jazz For The Whole Family by Dan Barrett and his Jazz Bears

May I say I was a bit shocked when I received a "children’s record" for review. Not too exciting, is it? On the contrary! This CD is a blast.

This is a kid’s record that is guaranteed to please every jazz fan. Within minutes of auditioning, my hands were drumming on the desk and I wore a smile a yard wide. My wife even deserted her perch in front of the U.S. Open Tennis to come and listen. That counts for major points.

If you have youngsters of your own and you take them to the local jazz fest to hear your favorite cool tenor man and his quartet, it leaves the tykes cold. "Can we go home now, Dad"? On the other hand, sit that little guy or gal down in front of a hot Dixieland band and they won’t sit for long. They’ll be hoppin’ and struttin’ all over the lot. Having been through this situation often, I’ll lay my reputation on the line. It’s the gospel truth!

Dan Barrett and this group of fun loving professionals will captivate both the kids and parents. They even employ the use of a bass saxophone. Just the sight of this huge relic of the 1920s will arouse the rug rats. Just wait ‘til they hear it though. Wow!

The music is designed to please the little people with such tunes as This Old Man, Sing Sing Sing, Music Goes Down and Around, Swingin’ in the Dell, Rhythm in My Nursery Rhymes and a glut of others. My personal favorites are Mama Don’t Allow, Ursa the Blues and the rollicking At the Jazz Bears Ball. The Canadian, Jim Galloway joins the group for a tune or two and just shines with his soprano solo on Mamma Don’t Allow.

There are not enough kind words in my vocabulary to adequately compliment the all stars on this CD and I hate to single out any one. This is top quality jazz played by the cream of the crop and including the great vocals of Rebecca Kilgore. Listen to her on "Little Man, You’ve Had a Busy Day" and if it doesn’t bring back wonderful dreams of your own childhood, I’ll eat my hat.

If all goes as expected, the music on this CD will be heard in a full length feature cartoon, The Jazz Bears, written by David Schacter and directed by Tina Seemann.

In the meantime, this recording stands in class of its own and I’ll stake my reputation on its value. The gift giving season is rapidly approaching folks. This CD would be a present that will be a blast for the kids and will pay off in multiples when it turns the little folks into jazz fans. This is a winner! Am I excited about this release? "Damn right!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Dan Barrett and his Jazz Bears
  • CD Title: Being a Bear - Jazz For The Whole Family
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: Arbors Records
  • Musicians: Dan Barrett (leader, trombone, vocals), Spanky Davis (trumpet, vocals), Jim Galloway (soprano and baritone sax), Scott Robinson (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone sax, bass sax), John Sheridan (piano), Paul Keller (bass), Jeff Hamilton (drums), Rebecca Kilgore (guitar, vocals).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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