George Gee Swing Orchestra’s latest CD “Swing Makes You Happy!” travels through a wide scale of human emotions from the exhilarating, uplifting swing numbers to the touching, heartfelt blues.
The CD includes traditional jazz tunes such as “Midnight in a Madhouse” and “No Moon at All” in fresh arrangements by David Gibson. The orchestra does a wonderful job bringing us back to the swinging ballrooms of the 1930’s–50’s and to the days when swing was the latest thing, but the greatest merits of the recording are even deeper than this. Through David Gibson’s new compositions, George Gee’s orchestra renews and creates the genre, and shows that today, in 2015, big band swing still is a living and exciting art form.
Further reasons why any jazz enthusiast should want to add George Gee to her/his record collection next to the Basie’s and Ellington’s are the fantastic musicianship as well as the outstanding vocalists John Dokes and Hilary Gardner. There is a beautiful harmony between the players that makes you feel like you are among friends. Gardner’s voice stems from a very clear spring, and “Sweet Pumpkin” is one of the tunes that stays in my head after having heard this CD. Listening to the nuances of Dokes’ deep voice, I cannot help thinking about Joe Williams, but certainly Dokes adds his own personality into his interpretation of both of the shadowy and the sunny, even funny sides of life. As to the latter, Doke’s and Gardner’s fantastic duet “If I Were a Bell” always brings a smile on my face. “Well Sir, all I can say is if I were a gate I’ll be swinging.”
And you certainly will be swinging listening to George Gee Swing Orchestra. The orchestra has a great sensitivity for playing for dancers, and appreciation for the fact that swing fundamentally is dance music. I have had the privilege to see this band many times, and even though the energy of their live performance is difficult to capture on a recording, even their recorded music is great to dance to. And yes, you can definitely also enjoy it in a sitting position! And yes, swing does make you happy!
(c) Malin Grahn-Wilder