Nearly all of the evening's first set focused on New Orleans, quite logical since the Crescent City was the birthplace of jazz. It included Morris' solo piano take on vintage ragtime, and rollicking versions of "Bourbon Street Parade" and "Basin Street Blues" (featuring vocals by Morris and Allred respectively), the Dixieland classic "Muskrat Ramble" and Myers' tip of the hat to late clarinetist Pete Fountain on "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans."
|Randy Sandke, Charlie Bertini|
|The horn section|
The Count Basie songbook was showcased as the band played Neal Hefti's "Late Date" and "The Kid from Red Bank" (written for Red Bank NJ native William "Count" Basie), as well as "April in Paris." Miller's "String of Pearls" preceded a splendid piano trio version of "Rosetta."
|Eddie Metz Jr.|
At mid-set, Metz and Mueller provided the evening's swinging, visual treat on Bob Crosby and the Bobcats' "Big Noise from Winnetka." After the opening riffs, the horn players left the stage as Metz played a bit of the rhythm standing in front of his drum kit, then used his sticks on the upright bass and its strings, complementing Mueller's solo artistry.
In ensemble performance and wide-ranging instrumental and vocal solos, this little big band was in fine form all night. The concert drew more than 300 fans to the Cultural Center of Charlotte County's William H. Wakeman III Theater.
|Morris, Myers, Sandke, Bertini, Mueller, Allred, Paul, Metz|