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When Youre Smiling by Palm Beach Society Orchestra

Arbors Records presents yet another fine CD in the traditional jazz idiom. The Palm Beach Society Orchestra is the house band for the Grand Floridian Hotel at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Despite their name being reminiscent of a stuffy ballroom orchestra, the band is actually a fine six-piece traditional jazz outfit that plays its repertoire in the swinging style of 1930's small jazz bands. One could describe the group as a "Dixieland" band, but their playing reveals much more musicianship than that name often implies.

The band is led by drummer Pat Doyle and features cornetist Davy Jones, trombonist Harold Johnson, and the superb clarinet and soprano sax work of Allan Vache, brother of cornet whiz Warren Vache. Vache's playing is outstanding, particularly "I Would Do Anything for You" and the soprano sax feature, Sidney Bechet's "Petite Fleur." The band also features chordal guitarist Bob Leary sitting in and vocalizing on "It's A Sin To Tell A Lie" and "A Kiss To Build A Dream On." And proving once again the old adage that attractive females are a plus for any musical group, the talented and sweet-voiced Michelle Amato contributes four additional vocals and scats assuredly through "I Can't Give You Anything But Love."

Though the tunes are old (except for pianist Bob Glendon's "Daddy Rick") and the band's approach is rooted in the Chicago of the 1920's and 1930's, the playing is inspired and fresh and the band never stops swinging. This CD is certainly a must-have for traditional jazz fans and works nicely as a welcome break to the often-frantic modern offerings of contemporary jazz groups.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Palm Beach Society Orchestra
  • CD Title: When Youre Smiling
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Arbors Jazz
  • Rating: Three Stars
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