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Seth MacFarlane: In Full Swing (Republic/Verve)

Review of vocal jazz album by TV and film producer and writer who sings material from the Great American Songbook

Cover of Seth MacFarlane album In Full Swing
Seth MacFarlane album In Full Swing

How delightfully idiosyncratic that Seth MacFarlane, who’s built a film and TV empire by trading in the most sophomoric of humor, has emerged as an old-school crooner, breezily mining Tin Pan Alley tunes with the verve of Dean Martin and the snap of Sinatra.

Given his place near the top of the Hollywood firmament, it’s understandable that MacFarlane is provided the sort of luxurious trappings few pop-jazz vocalists have enjoyed since Sinatra’s heyday. He recorded this fourth album, In Full Swing, at Abbey Road Studios with the savviest of co-producers, Joel McNeely, who also shapes punchy, brassy, string-dripping arrangements worthy of Billy May and Neal Hefti. Anchoring the 48-piece orchestra, expanded to an overwhelming 60 for one track, are such fine players as guitarist Larry Koonse, keyboardist Tom Ranier, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Peter Erskine.

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