Jammin' reflects the Midiri brothers' "authentic yet creative" approach to the music of Benny Goodman. It's the fifth release by the these talented twins. Paul, whose instruments include trombone, drums and vibes, fills the Hampton role. Joe plays all the reeds and has been featured as Goodman in recreations of the historic 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. He's Benny again at this Jazz in Bridgewater (NJ) series performance in January 2003.
From the start you'll feel the excitement of the concert and understand the "why" of repertory jazz. This session IS Goodman as you might have heard him live and swinging, unfettered by the time limitations of the old 78s. It also presents a Goodman Sextet that was seldom heard. The eloquent trumpet of Dan Tobias adds spice to the mix while Paul Midiri sparkles on vibes. In the original, the paths of Cootie Williams and Hamp crossed only briefly.
The opening" Love Me or Leave Me" is relaxed chamber jazz at its best, including those Pennsylvania 6-5000 riffs! The group is mellow on the ballads and swingin' on the up tempos and that rhythm section is solid as a rock. Guitarist Pat Mercuri is as steady as Freddy Green, but he's Charlie Christian on "Shine" and "Breakfast Feud." The latter chart made me sit up and take notice. It was included because of audience reaction and you'll understand why!
There are many other highlights: the poignant solo by Dan Tobias on "Memories of You," the clarinet/guitar duet on "East of the Sun," and sibling back-and-forth on a hard-driving "Limehouse Blues." The closing tune, "You Took Advantage of Me," comes from an earlier Bridgewater concert and contains plenty of exciting exchanges between vibes and horns.
Before he bought his first clarinet, Joe Midiri was captivated by the Goodman sound. This quality CD is the result of his respect for the King of Swing and his sextet's musicianship.