STYLE: Jazz RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 96463-17182 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Paul Loader
If you're a regular listener to Mike Rimmer's Rimmerama programme, you may know already that The Rounders from Orange County, California, are a husband and wife duo who specialise in traditional jazz and swing inspired by the American tunes of the '20s, '30s and '40s. And an amazing job they make of it too. Ernie and Michelle Bondy play most of the instruments themselves and the syncopated rhythms driven by standup bass and joyful percussion perfectly convey the feel of a bygone era. Both sing while Jeff Beaumont's clarinet playing, with its Benny Goodman-type licks, is a joy to listen to while Ernie plays some elegant jazz blues phrases on guitar. In fact, the whole album transports the listener to the back street bars and clubs of pre-war Harlem. Lyrically, there are songs which convey old fashioned love a good example being "Honeymoon" though there is also a powerful gospel song. Most of the songs are written by the Bondys with the exception of Fats Waller's "Crazy 'Bout My Baby" and, as a surprise, the insertion of a vintage Boswells Sisters' recording at the end of the "The Lonesome Road". 'Hot Town Sinners Ball' clearly won't be to everybody's taste but I personally found it incredibly refreshing to immerse myself in a sound and style that my grandparents would have cut their teeth on and the fact that the Bondys are a relatively young couple gives the album more of that genuine passion that the originators of this style of music would have had. Oh, and I adored the track "Seth", complete with some punchy blues guitar. I can see this CD appearing in many a Christmas stocking this year.
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