By: Edward Blanco

The group Swingadelic is essentially an eleven-piece ensemble or, as bassist and band member Dave Post puts it, a “little big band” playing out of Maxwell’s jazz club in Hoboken, NJ who pay homage to that other Duke in the jazz world, pianist and composer Duke Pearson. One listen to this disc and it becomes quite apparent why Post calls the group a “little big band” because the sound produced is so much like that coming from a large big band that it is hard to believe there are only eleven players performing. The band plays seven Pearson charts and throw in three covers tunes to round out the big band sound.

Audrey Welber leads a three sax attack featuring Paul Carlon and Jeff Hackworth on the baritone while the horns contain two on trumpet and two on the bones. The cool rhythm section includes the typical piano, bass and drums along with guitarist Bob Reiners. Together these guys swing mightily and crank out first-rate big band music in style. On pieces like “Mississippi Dip” and “Big Bertha” the Swingadelic name is so apropos as the swing is in with the brass doing all the talking. Yet on one of Pearson’s most oft recorded tunes, “Jeannine,” the group bears down on a contemporary groove that brings out the full measure of this rich melody.

Pianist John Bauers does a terrific Pearson impression on Donald Byrd’s tribute “Duke’s Mixture.” Other highlights of the album include the straight jazz “Sudel,” the rowdy and boisterous “Ready Rudy” and the loud in-your-face arrangement of Joe Sample’s “New Time Shuffle.” If you like swinging big band music performed with grit and swagger, then The Other Duke will not disappoint you performed by Swingadelic, the best “little big band” around.

Year: 2011
Label: ZOHO Records
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