Ernie Krivda: The Band That Swings

The revival of swing, even in its most bowdlerized manifestations, has been sanguine in re-focusing attention on the relationship of jazz to the general public. Here, for example, outgoing tenorman Ernie Krivda leads his Cleveland-based Fat Tuesday Big Band through a brisk program intended for dancers and listeners seeking good times through the medium of brassy, four-to-the-bar, boisterous big band shouting. It isn’t art music. But then jazz wasn’t born in Carnegie Hall. What it is, is fun. And, yes, the kids can dance to it!

Throughout, Krivda calls on an extroverted style recalling the walking-the-bar best of honkers King Curtis and Sam Butera. Simplifying his lines in order to bring out their bluesy subtexts, Krivda torches up “I Should Care,” “Watch What Happens” and “Boogie Blues.” With a tip-of-the-hat to Louis Prima, Krivda even growls a few vocals. Sporting nifty charts such as Bob Florence’s “Undecided” and Chuck Israels’ “Irv’s at Midnight,” Krivda’s band cooks with a flamboyance perhaps best described as cabaret swing. Yeah, it’s fun!