2) Titan Hot Seven – Cruisin’ The River with… – Summit World Jazz SWJCD-05 ****:
There’s plenty of traditional jazz quintets, sextets and septets out
there, but it takes a special spark to break out of the “moldy fig”
appelation and to appeal to a wider audience of jazz fans.
Hearing this Connecticut-based septet’s version of After You’ve Gone –
which closes out the first of these discs – convinced me that the Titan
Hot Seven has that spark. Plus, their repertory ranges wider than most
trad bands – including stuff from the 30s and even Django Reinhardt
tunes, which immediately caught these ears. The band has been around
since the 1980s and was founded by a trombonist who had played in the
Firehouse Five Plus One. Their arrangements are fresh and fun while
retaining the spirit of the original tunes. They even delve into
a Basie-ish beat on Rose Room. The second (and earlier) CD stays
more solidly in the trad jazz vein with New Orleans-centered tunes and
of course the St. Louis Blues. But the Hot Seven never sounds stale or
stuck. The cruisin’ theme derives from their playing on a jazz
sternwheeler cruise from Memphis to St. Louis.
Selections (1): American Patrol, Whispering, Bye Bye Blackbird, Minor
Swing, Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, I’ve Got a Fellin’ I’m Fallin,’ Rose
Room, Everybody Loves My Baby, I Would do Anything for You, Davenport
Blues, Temptation Rag, Melancholy Blues, At the Jazz Band Ball, I’m
Confessin,’ Love Me or Leave Me, After You’ve Gone.
Selections (2): Riverboat Shuffle, Darkness on the Delta, Tennessee
Waltz, Riverside Blues, Up a Lazy River, Memphis Blujes, Down By the
Riverside, New Orleans, Louisiana, Blue River, Floatin’ Down to
Cottontown, St. Louis Blues, Old Miss, Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.
– John Henry