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Fever Pitch

NAXOS 8.572835



Fever Pitch [3:06]; South Street Strut [4:24]; Who, me worry? [4:20]; Sneakin' [4:18]; Caribbean Leprechaun [5:31]: Pictures of Emily [3:52]; Mine, all mine [3:11]
Go for it [6:45]; In a Monday mood [3:11]; SFO [3:44]
Billy Ver PLANCK (d. 2009)
Bone Meal [3:22]; Bubba Loomiz Blues [4:24]; Groovy Cats [4:29]
Michael SAHL (b. 1934)
Mill Town Gipsy Ball (1985) [6:10]
String Fever/Marin Alsop
rec. Master Sound Astoria Studios, New York, 17-19 June 1991. Originally issued on Lizard Records, 1992.

This is a real oddity: a collection of music originally written for swing and jazz bands but here arranged for string orchestra and percussion. I suspect that the reaction of listeners will depend entirely on how they view the prospect of such arrangements. The substitution of solo violin for clarinet or saxophone is something that we have become accustomed to in jazz, but the substitution of a solo cello for the tenor saxophone is something else again. This record was originally issued some twenty years ago, and is now being made available for the second time courtesy of Naxos, for whom Marin Alsop has subsequently made so many fine records. She plays solo violin on a number of the tracks, and there are also solos from Christine Gummere on cello, Chris Adams on drums and LaMar Alsop whistling. Other violin solos are contributed by Laura Seaton and Mary Rowell. Four composers contribute various tracks, some of which were apparently written specifically for this recording.

The results constitute `light music' par excellence, and the notes on the music by the composers and arrangers range from the briefly informative to the flippant. I have not found it possible to obtain much detail on the individual composers concerned, and none is given in the booklet notes. Those in the header to this review have been extracted from various internet sites. Under the circumstances comment on the individual tracks would seem superfluous; only two items are more than six minutes in length, and the rest swing by with suitable breeziness. This is apparently the second Naxos release from these players - an earlier one (8.572834) was entitled It don't mean a thing, which speaks for itself - and those who enjoyed the earlier release will doubtless know what to expect and will find this disc equally enjoyable. For the rest, it will depend on the reaction of the listener to the idea of swing played by a small but expert group of strings. Personally I found it likeable if lightweight. It would make good music for seduction, in the right circumstances.

Paul Corfield Godfrey

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