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Dan Barrett: Harlem 2000

The most consistent aspect about Dan Barrett’s Harlem 2000 (Nagel-Heyer) is the relaxed, Dixieland-tinged, John Kirby-type combo atmosphere. It’s safe to say the sextet had a ball, and they obviously dig jamming with one another, sticking mainly to old chestnuts, a lot of Ellingtonia (Duke, Rex Stewart and Barney Bigard) and just three originals among the 15 tracks spread out over 72 minutes. Barrett plays trombone on just six tracks and elsewhere divides his talents between cornet and vocals. However there is enough of his ‘bone playing to show off his reputation as one of the smoothest players on that instrument. Ellington’s “Echoes of Harlem,” containing the wah-wah stylings of “Tricky Sam” Nanton, offers eloquent proof. His smooth vocals may be throwaways, but his cornet solos are definitely keepers. So are his highly serviceable arrangements. It’s not your father’s Dixieland; there are too many swing-era touches. One historical gem: It is conjectured in the liner notes that the fiercely two-beat “Haven’t Named It Yet” is what one of its co-composers, Lionel Hampton or Charlie Christian, volunteered when the studio engineer asked them what it was called.

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