As the most recorded artist on the label, trombonist Dan Barrett returns in his 38th Arbors Jazz recording and his 10th as a leader. "Melody In Swing" features Barrett heading up a small swing combo mixing a few standards with other tunes not often heard today.
Equally at home on cornet and trombone, Dan Barrett attacks this swing program with his "weapon of choice", the slide trombone. The gifted leader/ arranger kicks the quintet along at a leisurely swinging pace and there are no showy pyrotechnics. I've become accustomed to nothing less from this artist, having reviewed several of his recent CDs. Barrett has performed at Carnegie Hall with Woody Herman, Joe Bushkin and Dick Hyman. He was a trombonist in Benny Goodman's last big band. In demand at jazz festivals around the world, Dan even brings some silver screen experience, having appeared on the soundtracks of "The Cotton Club", "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway."
His trombone style is highly personal but echoes such legends as Jack Teagarden, Miff Mole and Tommy Dorsey. Behind the solid rhythms of Dave Stone and Jeff Hamilton, the quintet features additional solos by pianist Ray Sherman
and guitarist Eddie Erikson. Erikson sticks with the guitar for 12 of the 13 tracks and switches to banjo when one least expects it; Steve Allen & Ray Brown's "Gravy Waltz."
Ray Sherman is a credit to any recording group and has found many opportunities with Arbors. While his solos tend to perk your ears immediately, his back-up work on "There Is No Greater Love" is heartfelt and beautiful. Check out Ray's solo on "Take My Heart."
You'll hear Leonard Feather's "Mighty Like The Blues", Ellington and Hodges beautiful "Finesse" and Ben Webster's "Teezol." There are no tired swing perennials on this album. As I wind up this review, a voice from another room shouts "Play it again." 'Nuff said.