'The Very Next Thing' is Hot Jazz Jumpers From On The Bol Records [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt on Jan 25, 2016 12:20 PM EST

Crazy! This wildly eclectic New York quintet throws decorum out the window on The Very Next Thing (On The Bol Records). It's so intense you might think they're kidding but their roots lie in The Roaring Twenties. It's music you can do the Charleston to. Their comedic over-the-top balls-to-the-wall variety show of a CD features almost 80 minutes of insane delight.

Nick Russo is the madman who plays guitar, banjo and resonator. The trumpet, trombone and clarinet front line bespeaks a raucous pugnacity where you're either going to jump atop a table and boogie on down or you're going to have to leave the room in exasperation. There's no in-between.

From the Ellingtonia of "Caravan" and "In A Mellow Tone" to "You Are My Sunshine," "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Ain't Misbehavin'" "I've Got My Mojo Working" and "When The Red Red Robin (Comes Bob Bob Bobbing Along)," you just have to smile at their audacity or smirk at their silliness. Yet they are, indeed, dead serious.

They scat, they dance, they joke, they incessantly try to outdo one another (sometimes to the point of obnoxiousness), so much that it could be off putting. Just in case you don't get the point, the package comes complete with a second disc, a flamboyant DVD that includes their mission statement, performances, interviews and behind-the-scenes scenes.

Highlights include "Nobody But My Baby," originally sung by Eva Taylor [1895-1977] about 90 years ago. "Freight Train" is probably the most well-known song written by Elizabeth Cotton [1893-1987]. It dates back to 1908. "Jock-A-Mo" (the forerunner of "Iko Iko") is pure New Orleans."This Little Light Of Mine" was originally written as a gospel for children but became a staple of the civil rights movement.

Their genius, obviously, is in song selection. Their talents, even more obviously, are in the abstract improvisation and entertainment value of making these classic early American chestnuts come vividly back to life.

Be on the lookout also for an eight-track EP by Banjo Nickaru & His Western Scooches with the same title (hint: it's the same band) that ratchets down the craziness in favor of a more Country, Americana, New Orleans and folk-oriented program.

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TagsHot Jazz Jumpers, REVIEW, On The Bol Records, Roaring Twenties