Friday, April 1, 2011

Tony Guerrero: Blue Room

Charleston Square Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Blue Room

One must go back decades to find bands — and recordings — that featured what I call "happy jazz." It became popular in the years between Dixieland and traditional, and it had several characteristics: a relatively simple melodic line, mid- to upbeat tempos, and plenty of swing. Additionally, those who played it always had fun.

Brass player Tony Guerrero and his supporting musicians have recreated that style.

Guerrero, who plays cornet, trumpet and flugelhorn, heads a quartet with pianist Llew Matthews, bassist Dave Enos and drummer Matt Johnson. Five guest artists are added for this release: guitarist Jamie Findlay, saxophonists Doug Webb and Robert Lyle, pianist Frank Giebels and B3 organist Joe Bagg. Their contributions are sprinkled throughout the 13 tracks.

The majority of the tunes are familiar standards ("It’s Only a Paper Moon," "Body and Soul," "Candy," "Blue Room" and others); the remaining tracks are lesser-known pop tunes ("Black Orpheus," "Just Squeeze Me") and a couple of originals by Guerrero.

I love everything, and others of my generation likely will feel the same. The musicians are excellent, and everything is done is a delightful manner. You’ll find yourself humming along, snapping your fingers and wanting to dance.

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