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June 2004

Jim Galloway
Echoes of Swing
Cornerstone Records

For a real change of pace, we turn to Toronto resident Jim Galloway's Echoes of Swing (Cornerstone). Galloway plays a somewhat Johnny Hodges-inspired curved soprano saxophone on all tracks except the two on which he switches to baritone. His six-piece ensemble, with trumpet and trombone sharing the front line, serves as a small swing band for the most part, although it functions as a Dixieland group in a few spots. The group's repertoire reflects its orientation and includes such popular swing-era items as "Runnin' Wild," "Christopher Columbus," and "Sugar," along with a Fats Waller tune, two Ellington songs, and others from the period.

Recorded before a live audience, the music is exceptionally polished, with excellent ensemble playing and improvisations. Galloway's lovely soprano sound and gentle phrasing are featured throughout, but others share the spotlight as well. Ellington's "In My Solitude," for example, showcases trombonist Laurie Bower's warm sound. Pianist Ian Bargh's virtuosic improvisations-which include some dazzling Tatum-like runs-are especially remarkable.

Originally published in June 2004
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