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April 2001

Keith Ingham Manhattan Swingtet
We're In the Money
Sackville

This album's subtitle is an affirmation of Keith Ingham's philosophy: the jazz he trusts is updated traditional. The Swingtet is a thinly disguised Dixieland combo, minus trombone, with the leader/pianist playing outside of the two-beat style and providing minimal head arrangements. Of the 17 tunes, most are so obscure they had to be exhumed: just about all of them were written between 1919 and 1943.

That's one of the weaknesses in this album. Obviously the obscurity is justified: tunes with uninteresting changes deserve to rest in peace. Recording weak material leads to uninspired playing, and there is too much here-particularly those tracks featuring Ingham's celeste.

On the positive side: Charlie Shavers' "Pastel Blue" (from whence cometh the born-again "Blue Monk"; " solid Old Man," by Rex Stewart, with solid old dirty blues playing by trumpeter Peter Ecklund; a fine arragement of "Let's Get Lost" thanks to simple Charleston jabs; and the swinging chart on "Lulu's Back in Town," with its surprising change of key in the last two measures.

Equally surprising from an archeological point of view, is the duality of clarinetist Bobby Gordon. His front-line noodling is quite effective, but when he solos, he conjures up the lachrymose wail of Pee Wee Russell.

Originally published in April 2001
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