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January/February 2008

Doug Beavers Rovira Jazz Orchestra
Jazz, Baby!
Origin Records

How young is too young when it comes to exposing your youngsters to jazz? According to the producers of this album, a Bay Area couple with a one-year-old daughter, and the arranger, Doug Beavers Rovira, apparently if you can play or sing nursery rhymes to your toddler, you can begin the jazz indoctrination. Enter Matt Catingub and Linda Harmon to sing and swing them, accompanied by a 21-piece band filled with L.A. and San Francisco players, and gestation (from conception to mastering) took a nervous three years.

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Scott Chernis

Doug Beavers

The whole project is first-class because of Rovira’s arrangements and the singers heard on all 11 tracks: Catingub is well-known as the Big Kahuna arranger-conductor, but his hip, Bobby Darin style of singing is in his genes: his mom was the great, but under-appreciated Mavis Rivers. Harmon has been heard more than seen, singing on TV and in movies since ’79, often uncredited. The singers constantly modulate (in deference to attention deficit?); the band swings mightily; soloists shine: trumpeter Mike Olmos, tenorist Sheldon Brown, altoist Alex Budman and guest percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo.

Originally published in January/February 2008
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