Just the Thing
The International Sweet-hearts of Rhythm was a pioneering all-female swing band in the late 1930s and 1940s. The all-woman Kit McClure Band faithfully re-created some of the Sweethearts’ original arrangements, most by Maurice King of later Motown fame, on their 2004 recording The Sweethearts Project. The band’s Just the Thing presents those same tunes (with McClure’s “NYC Rap” substituted for Juan Tizol’s “Perdido”) outfitted in updated arrangements by the leader and some members of the band. Some examples: a mixture of triple and duple meter now underlies a swinging “Honeysuckle Rose”; the uptempo, Basie-like “Don’t Get It Twisted” gets spiced up by a Latin background; the straightahead vocal ballad “I Never Get Tired” becomes a funk-rock ballad for tenor; “Jump Children” lays on the funk; and “She’s Crazy With the Heat” morphs into a brisk Latin number. And there are six others.
As they did on the earlier recording, the players perform the new charts with precision and verve, and spotlight a number of excellent soloists. The leader is featured often on her full-toned tenor. Pianist Cathy Harley also gets a large share of the solo space. Others who appear frequently to fine advantage include altoist Lakecia Benjamin and trumpeter Tanya Darby.