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'Michael Gamble & the Rhythm Serenaders' Prove Swing is Still the Thing, Organic [REVIEW]

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Sep 16, 2016 10:24 AM EDT | Mike Greenblatt (m.greenblatt@classicalite.com)

Michael Gamble

Bassist/Bandleader Michael Gamble swings hard with his Rhythm Serenaders. (Photo : courtesy Organic )

Swing's the thing! Before the grandiose joyousness of solid 1930s swing music got overtaken by bebop in the 1940s and rock'n'roll in the 1950s, swing was, indeed, the thing. Such progenitors as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw and Count Basie toured the country with their orchestras until it just got too damn expensive to travel with such a retinue and they all died out like dinosaurs. Although swing dancing made a 1980s comeback, it didn't permeate the culture. Nowadays, though, such bands as Svetlana & The Delancey Five and Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks party like its 1939. The self-titled debut by Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders (Organic) now ties it all up in a pretty package.Turn back the clock!

Taking from the songbooks of Irving Berlin ("He Ain't Got Rhythm"), Cootie Williams ("Slidin' and Glidin'"), Charlie Christian ("Seven Come Eleven"), Lionel Hampton ("Pick A Rib"), Mary Lou Williams ("A Mellow Bit of Rhythm"), Ben Webster ("Woke Up Clipped"), Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge ("Scottie"), Jerome Kern ("Smoke Gets In Your Eyes") and 10 more, bassist Gamble and drummer Josh Collazo sure do serenade. And they have two clarinets, two saxophones, two guitars, two trumpets, two trombones, two pianos, and two vocalists to fit into their ark.

This is dance music. Back in the day, the dance was the Lindy Hop, named after the hop across the Atlantic by Charles "Lucky Lindy" Lindbergh. Now there's swing dancing competitions and social events all over the country. Gamble runs one of the biggest ones in his Asheville, North Carolina home town. It's a five-day festival called Lindy Focus.

The great thing about these songs is that they're action-packed movers, bluesers and ballads recorded on state-of-the-art equipment using modern engineering techniques proving, once again, that swing is still the thing.

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