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John Sheridan and His Dream Band: Something Tells Me

Best known for his longstanding association with Jim Cullum’s Jazz Band, for years a favorite on PBS, pianist/arranger John Sheridan here hosts a distinguished assemblage of veteran and emerging mainstreamers in a tribute to the compositions of Richard Whiting and Harry Warren, among others. The basic thrust of the music is Swing Era-based, dixie-styled jamming plus the tightness of John Kirby-like charts, with plenty of room left for solos by such intrepid improvisers as Randy Reinhart on trumpet, cornet, and trombone, Dan Barrett on trombone and cornet, Brian Ogilvie on clarinet, alto, and tenor, and Ron Hockett on clarinet and alto. Note that such a diversity of horns presented Sheridan with an ample palette by which to create a variety of tonal colors otherwise unavailable to most small-band writers. Moreover, each of these men is an inventive, swinging soloist capable of inspiring sustained interest over periods of time far longer than the space accorded them here. Instead of LP-length self-indulgences, think of the economy of space involved in making 78s, and you’ll have an idea of how these men squeeze so much music into such small parcels of time. Aiding Sheridan and the hornmen are guitarist Reuben Ristrom, bassist Bob Haggart, and drummer Jeff Hamilton.

With the exception of only a small handful of tunes, most of the 17 numbers have been rarely played since the 1930s, and, especially because of Sheridan’s artful arrangements, they are long overdue for fresh hearing. In addition to the title tune, these include “I’ve Got A Heartful Of Music,” “Can’t Teach My Old Heart New Tricks,” “About A Quarter To Nine,” “Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?,” “Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride,” “I’d Love To Take Orders From You,” “Silhouetted In The Moonlight” and “You Oughta Be In Pictures.”

Originally Published