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Album Review

Consisting of pianist John Bunch, guitarist John Pizzarelli and bassist Jay Leonhart, New York Swing is an acoustic trio that pretty much lives up to its name — all three are New York-based, and they favor what is essentially '40s-type swing. The trio uses the same combination of instruments as the Nat King Cole Trio of the '40s (piano, guitar, and bass, but no drums), and their repertoire is pretty much what one would have expected from a swing-playing small group of that era. Enjoying a nice rapport on these intimate live performances (all of them from a Caribbean "jazz cruise" aboard the S.S. Norway), the trio turns its attention to the music of Benny Goodman ("Benny's Bugle," "Wholly Cats"), Duke Ellington (the lovely "All Too Soon"), Rodgers & Hart ("Have You Met Miss Jones?," "Nobody's Heart Belongs to Me"), and others with pleasing results. Although neither earth-shattering nor terribly original, this is a decent, if conventional, CD that lovers of small-group swing will enjoy.


Born: December 1, 1921 in Tipton, IN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

John Bunch had a long and distinguished career even if his abilities as an accompanist and supportive player sometimes led to him being taken for granted. He started on piano when he was 11 and within a year was playing in local clubs. Bunch, a flexible pianist who was most inspired by Teddy Wilson, generally played locally until working with the big bands of Woody Herman (1956-1957), Benny Goodman, and Maynard Ferguson (1958) when he was already in his mid-thirties. Bunch worked in the small groups...
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