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Album Review

There have been many attempts through the years to record a jazz set for children, but usually the music is either too complex or too childish, not achieving its purpose. The music on this particular CD was written to be used for a full-length animated film called The Jazz Bears. Most of the melodies (except for five originals) are pretty familiar and simple, but the solos are topnotch and colorful. The vocals (particularly those of the great Rebecca Kilgore) are swinging and charming. Although the opening, "Being a Bear," may make one think that this CD is only for children, it will be easy for adults who are fans of mainstream swing to enjoy this project. Dan Barrett (who arranged many of the pieces) is a versatile trombonist, and his vocal on "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" is surprisingly effective. Trumpeter Spanky Davis (who has long been underrated) has quite a few hot solos, Scott Robinson (best on baritone and bass sax) is always impressive, and Jim Galloway's soprano is another asset. Recommended, for children and their jazz-loving parents alike.


Born: December 14, 1955 in Pasadena, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A major player in the small-group swing movement of the 1980s and '90s, Dan Barrett's trombone is equally at home in Dixieland and swing settings. He started on trombone in high school and played in California with the South Frisco Jazz Band and the Golden Eagle Jazz Band, two fine trad groups. At the urging of Howard Alden, Barrett moved to New York in 1983 where he worked with the Widespread Depression Orchestra, played at Eddie Condon's club, and in 1985 was with Benny Goodman's Orchestra. Barrett...
Full bio

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