CD: Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers’ “Live in Shanghai, Vol. 1”

Reggie's Red Hot Feetwarmers: Live in Shanghai

(DDE Music, 2011):

This past spring, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers spent three months playing at the House of Blues & Jazz in Shanghai, China. And they came back with a souvenir for you…

“Live in Shanghai,” the brand new CD by the Feetwarmers, zips along with all of the fun and energy that you expect from a trad jazz band, but it’s the musicianship that will keep you spinning this little platter long after the novelty wears off. Tom Shields’ trombone, Scott Black’s cornet and Juli Aymi’s sweet clarinet weave in and around each other, while bassist Reggie “Doc” Scanlon and banjo-man-tenor guitarist Peter Davis (and sometimes Aymi on washboard) keep the rhythm upbeat and appropriately zippy.

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And with all of the bandmembers except Black stepping up to the microphone to sing lead at one time or another, there’s plenty of vocal variety, too – from Scanlon’s cool croon on “It’s Only a Paper Moon” to a bit of bluesy growl from Davis on “Atlanta Blues.”

The song selection includes a few classic standards (“Sentimental Journey,” the sultry “Dark Eyes,” “Tin Roof Blues”), as well as several lesser known gems – most notably “I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)” – and not surprisingly, a number of nuggets that reference the exotic locale of the live recording (“Shanghai Lil,” “Slow Boat to China” and the disc-closing instrumental “China Boy”).

Producer Don Dworkin (aka Scanlon) wisely keeps the between-song platter and post-song applause to a bare minimum, which makes for a considerably more enjoyable repeat-listening experience.

Having subtitled the album “Vol. 1,” the Feetwarmers leave the door open for a second or even third round of live recordings from their journey across the globe. Or maybe it means that they’ll be heading back to China for another jaunt and recording. Either way, it looks like the fun doesn’t end here…

A slightly revised line-up of Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers will celebrate the album’s release at the monthly Saratoga Savoy Diamond Dance at the Saratoga Music Hall in Saratoga Springs at 7:30pm on Saturday. Joining Shields, Davis and Scanlon will be trumpeter Randy Reinhart and clarinetist Adrian Cunningham. Tix are $15.

Don’t forget your dancing shoes…

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