Whimsical swing? Why not...The jazz genre makes some people as tight as when they hear the words "tax time." Sylvia Herold and the Rhythm Bugs are an infectious hybrid of tight three part harmony vocals with some incredible musicianship from some first call talent not afraid to play outside the box. The pseudo intellectual jazz elite takes the more serious and scholarly approach and while Herold and the Rhythm Bugs are first call musicians they also bring a ubiquitous joy to their performance that is lacking almost straight across the jazz idiom. There is a huge difference between a vocal or instrumental technician and an artist.
The incomparable Fats Waller tune "The Spider and the Fly" is the focal point of this release while a variety of both texture and genre are all most certainly guaranteed to keep the casual listener entertained. As Herold runs the sonic table we find the Big Easy flavor of "Barrelhouse Bessie From Basin Street" to the classic vocalese section on the bossa nova riff on "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes." The vocal arrangements are spot on and knocked out of the park by Herold, Ed Johnson and Jennifer Scott and are the organic ground zero from which The Spider And The Fly develops. Guests instrumentalists on vibraphone, accordion, trumpet, violin and dobro add some sonic surprises to the eclectic mix but presented in a flawless ebb and flow of creativity.
Western swing? Sort of...The vocals are reminiscent of the Pied Pipers and a musical time gone by. Top notch vocals, first call instrumental guests and pristine sound quality bring an old school retro sound back to center stage. With taste being subjective and musical frames of reference a dangerous game, The Spider And The Fly would draw well from the N.P.R/Prairie Home Companion crowd but the entertainment value is as solid as they come across the board. Toss sub genre out the window and simply enjoy the music!
Tracks: All The Cats Join In; Barrelhouse Bessie From Basin Street; The Fella Who Couldn't Be Kissed; The Spider And The Fly; San Fernando Valley; Mohair Sam; The Night Has A Thousand Eyes; The Continental; Happy Feet; Bubble-Loo, Bubble-Loo; Ain't Nobody Home; Betcha I Getcha; Fine And Dandy; Come To Baby, Do.
Personnel: Sylvia Herold: vocals, guitar; Jennifer Scott: voice, piano; Jason Lewis: drums, percussion; Ed Johnson: voice, guitar; Cary Black: bass.
Special Guests: Christian Tamburr: vibraphone; Charlie Hancock: accordion; John Worley: trumpet, flugelhorn; Evan Price: violin; Orville Johnson: dobro; Tony Marcus: voice.