Eyal Vilner Big Band is reviewed NYC Jazz Record in the October Edition with Swing Out!

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NYC JAZZ RECORD (October Edition)

by Scott Yanow

First formed around a decade ago as a modern bop-oriented orchestra (their debut recording included such songs as “Woody’n You” and “Un Poco Loco”) the Eyal Vilner Big Band has gradually evolved into a much more swing-based band that plays for jitterbugging dancers. Swing Out!, its fourth release, makes the case that it is one of the most versatile and hard-swinging units in its field.The dozen selections are full of surprises and consistent joy. Vilner’s opening original “Downhill” introduces the group as a fairly conventional big band touched by the influence of Count Basie. That all changes on “In A Mellow Tone” which, rather than emulating Duke Ellington as expected, has Brianna Thomas singing vocalese lyrics based on an obscure Trummy Young trombone solo.A rollicking “Dinah” by Harry Akst-Sam M. Lewis-Joe Young, Louis Alter-Eddie DeLange’s “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans” (highlighted by James Zollar’s trad trumpet) and W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues”, which is partly based on a Louis Armstrong solo, find the band sounding quite credible hinting at both New Orleans jazz and early swing.Brandon Bain’s vocal on Bob Haymes-Alan Brandt’s “That’s All” (with Vilner taking a fine alto solo) is ‘50s swing, “Big Apple Contest” from the 1939 film Keep Punchin’ is a riff-filled dance number that cooks and Walter Donaldson-Gus Kahn’s “My Baby Just Cares For Me” is based on Nina Simone’s hit version of the late ‘50s. The other numbers are Vilner’s solid swinger “Going Uptown”, a rock-and-rollish “5-10-15 Hours” (a big hit for Ruth Brown written by Rudy Toombs), Sholom Secunda-Jacob Jacobs’ “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon” and an episodic and adventurous take on the traditional song “I’m On My Way To Canaan Land”, which includes a free section, a gospel-flavored vocal by Thomas and some complex ensembles worthy of Ellington.While there are some fine short solos, it is the band’s spirit that is most memorable, Swing Out! is a delight for both listeners and swing dancers. For more information, visit eyalvilner.com. This band is at The Django Oct. 16th and Birdland Oct. 20th

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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