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Album Review

This ensemble lead by U.K. expatriate Keith Ingham patterns itself on those outstanding small groups which let the bop revolution pass them by and stayed with a more refined approach to jazz. The Manhattan Swingtet finds musical antecedents in small groups led by Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, Tiny Grimes, Ike Quebec, and Earl "Fatha" Hines. Perhaps the Ingham group is a bit more suave than these groups with its swing a bit more sophisticated. Even on tunes where the title hints at some wild things to come, there's a touch of restraint, as on "Celestial Boogie" where Ingham moves over to the small upright celeste. But the group does let its hair down on some tracks as on the title tune "We're in the Money" when Peter Ecklund's laughing trumpet leads the way. In contrast, "A Room With a View" returns to a less hectic stance with Bobby Gordon's middle-register clarinet out front and once again Ingham being aristocratic on the celeste. Although euphonious throughout the session, songs like "Mighty Like the Blues" reveal the essence of melodic harmony as Gordon and Ecklund engage in musical byplay that can only be characterized as angelic. Tunes like "Gee, But You're Swell" and "Comes Love" conjure up images of cordial times over drinks at a swank New York lounge. In addition to Gordon and Ecklund, oft-recorded guitarist Chris Flory makes a major contribution on such cuts as "Indian Summer." Ingham is probably better known to many for his accompanist skill. He was musical director for Susannah McCorkle and backed such vocalists as Maxine Sullivan and Joyce Breach. But during his active and varied career, he also recorded with Bob Wilbur, Bud Freeman, and the World's Greatest Band. So he is very much at home in a solely instrumental setting as this album so entertainingly demonstrates. Coming up with just the right mix of up- and medium-tempo material and ballads, along with a blues number or two, We're in the Money is jazz at its cosmopolitan best. Recommended.

We're In the Money, The Keith Ingham Manhattan Swingtet
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