April 1997

Harry Skoler
Reflections on the Art of Swing
Brownstone Records

Harry Skoler follows his debut, Conversions in the Language of Jazz (also on Brownstone), with a leisurely paced outing aptly titled Reflections on the Art of Swing. Though a multi-instrumentalist with degrees from Berklee and the New England School of Music, here, Skoler returns to his first inspiration, clarinet. Subtitled A Tribute to Benny Goodman, Skoler spins evocative variations atop such classic BG fare as "After You've Gone," "Don't Be That Way" and "Flying Home."

"We play some of the first tunes that I had loved when I was a kid," Skoler notes. "I did not try to sound like Benny Goodman but I hear him in the songs." Indeed, this is a labor of love. And though Goodman's spirit peaks out from behind the phrases, it's clear that Skoler is his own man. Whether a roller-coaster ride through "Handful of Keys" or a meditation on "Rose Room," Skoler "speaks" confidently with a poignantly transparent and vibrant sound. Rounding out the quartet are vibraphonist Ed Saindon, bassist Roger Kimball and drummer Tim Gilmore.

Originally published in April 1997
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