|Preconceived Notions: Here’s what I think I know…Prima is a trumpet player. I suspect this will sound a little like Count Bassie, prominent use of upright bass etc…”Just a giolo” was pretty awesomely covered by David lee Roth…well awesome when I was a wee lad. I remember hearing a version done by Prima once. Also I’m pretty sure Prima was in the Jungle Book movie right? Swing can be good or bad…here’s to hoping…
After Listening: Pretty flipping sweet. Nice Oh sure, Prima’s involvement in each song’s creation varies-so I’m not sure how much credit he gets for each one….but whomever’s creation each piece is, and to what degree, kudos. Swing jazz, not too many chances to be sure – not many signs of improv, but these are small and forgivable sins as ascribable to the sign of the times. There’s a strong performance by Keely Smith (admittedly I had to look her up) on here, whose voice is a perfect counterpart to Prima’s “gruffer” vocals. The trumpet lines are crisp, and the piano is sharp when it needs to be, bright and edgy, and then mellow and reflective on cue. The upright bass- just one of the best sounds on the planet is-as predicted a staple of the big band arrangement on this one. And then I think maybe more for me than some…this thing just has Italian written all over it- certainly Prima’s voice is dripping with it, and while not Sinatra I’m sure I’m heard some of this at the big gatherings we used to have at my Grandma’s for Easter Weekend. Very cool feeling.
Favorite Tracks: :”Just a Gigolo” – This is just a cool song. It’s always been. Lyrics are great, horns are fantastic.
“Oh Marie” – Gets us back to that Italian thing.
“I’ll be glad when you’re dead” – Fantastic lyrics, just fantastic.
Least Favorite: “Basin St” – seems to wander without a focus. Just sort of there.
Overall: 4.2 Is this as groundbreakingly awesome as Duke Ellington? No. It’s too straight lace (and too swing) for that- but to be fair nobody’s been Ellington since Ellington. It’s more alive and energetic than Bassie, and that’s a more apt comparison for the style of the music. It’s just nice with some solid standards that he makes his own somewhat, and the rest well it does just a bit better than average.