what is there to say? - album reviews

what-is-here-to-sayIn a small group context, Vache's bright and literate trumpet or cornet work gets a little more of the spotlight. This pianoless quartet also showcases the criminally underrated guitarist Joe Puma, the fine-toned bassist Murray Wall, and the veteran drummer Eddie Locke. They collectively epitomize the continuing swing tradition.

 Vache also fancies himself an entertaining singer in the Jack Sheldon tradition. He goes into sly enunciations with Puma's lustrous chords during "Comes Love," tells a tale of being swamped by in-laws for "I'll Never See Maggie Alone," and obviously not diabetic, relates defiance for diets, glorifying gorging in the swinging "Too Phat Blues." Watch your triglycerides Warren! Puma wrote three of the pieces: the sweet, implied bossa/tango "Bossango" sans drums; the "Cherokee"-based, well-swung "Pow Wow"; and the 12-bar original "See Jim/Jane/Joe/C-Jam Blues," which features the guitarist's gliding chords along with Vache's muted horn and traded fours with Locke's brushed drums and cymbals.

The steely-toned Puma makes definitive statements throughout this disc, especially on the forward moving, no-nonsense swinger "At Sundown." It's Vache who takes the bull by the horns for great swing vehicles as "My Shining Hour" and "It's a Blue World," the leader quoting "Seven Come Eleven" and "West End Blues" on the former, dealing a straight flush on the latter. Locke is most inspired and impressive on brushes for "Samantha"; he could write a book, and maybe he should as did Ed Thigpen. There's also the half-speed ballad "Deep in a Dream," the slow ballads "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" and the tenderized guitar-bass duo title cut, and the bass-based swinger "Falling in Love Is Wonderful."

This is a tasty morsel of swing from experts who do it right. Recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide