Eddie Erickson Live With His International Swing Band: I’m Old Fashioned

This septet is truly international: they represent the USA, Germany, Finland, The Netherlands and Italy. Fortunately, they all speak fluent jazz. The concert took place in Germany, September 2007, and included rare gems and great standards from the 20s through the 40s.

The gem that sparkles brightest is Eddie Erickson. He could make it as a guitarist/banjoist, if he chose, and he can double on trombone or cornet. He could also enjoy a career strictly as a singer, but he possesses an irrepressible

sense of humor plus a jazz-flavored penchant for ad libbing, thus making him the ideal front man for a band of “Trad” ad libbers.

Having said that, the very first track, “Pick Yourself Up,” boasts a clever, bop-flavored unison line (!) and an equally contemporary solo from trombonist Bill Allred. There are pleasant surprises sprinkled throughout the album’s nearly 79-minutes: “That’s My Home” (strongly reminiscent of “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South”); “Did I Remember?” for Erickson’s smooth, legato voice over an eager rhythmic pulse, particularly the walking of bassist Henning Gailing; the pleasingly plump sound of Antti Sarpilla’s Bechet-evoking tenor sax on “Sweet and Slow,” with trumpeter Menno Daams trying to squeeze in a taste of “Rhapsody in Blue;” “Little White Lies,” containing a remarkable contrapuntal “conversation” between Erickson’s guitar and Sarpilla’s clarinet; “You’re A Sweetheart,” not only for resuscitating its all-but-forgotten verse (credit singer/colleague Rebecca Kilgore for putting Eddie hip to it), but for an out chorus that builds so spontaneously towards a Dixieland climax; and “That’s A Plenty,” which intentionally shades its dynamics for the inevitable final chorus, driven by Daams’ trumpet, Erickson’s banjo and Moritz Gastreich’s drums.

Two solo tracks are worth savoring: pianist Rossano Sportiello’s medley of “Talk of the Town,” in which reveals a good ear for reharmonizing; and “Chinatown,” in which he highlights a firm stride at blazing speed; and Erickson, on “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise,” displaying his banjo technique, and his musical sense of humor, quoting from “Desafinado” and on the intro, from Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” which many in the predominantly German audience immediately acknowledged.