How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
When Lew London and Jay Corre come together in a recording studio (which isn’t nearly often enough) the “forecast” calls for cloudless skies, smooth sailing and an ample supply of exceedingly warm and unpretentious straight–ahead Jazz. Corre, who spent a good part of his career in big bands led by Buddy Rich, Harry James, Benny Goodman and others, is, in a melodic sense, the Chet Baker of the tenor sax, always ready to shape a suitably lyrical phrase, while London, once described in The New York Times as a “swing machine,” is equally at home on violin or guitar, even though he plays the latter only on “Misty” and “Stormy Weather.” As a violinist, London is clearly from the school of swing pioneered by Stuff Smith, Stephane Grappelli, Joe Venuti and a handful of others. Don’t know who’s in the rhythm section (the names are unlisted), but it’s a pretty good one. The selection of material is also quite good, as the quintet opens with Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies,” glides through Erroll Garner’s “Misty,” Arlen / Koehler’s “Sunny Side of the Street,” McHugh / Fields’ “Stormy Weather,” Burke / Johnson’s “Pennies from Heaven,” the Gershwin brothers’ “Foggy Day,” Burke / Van Heusen’s “Here’s That Rainy Day” and closes with another classic by Berlin, “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” (written in 1937 for the Dick Powell / Alice Faye musical On the Avenue and later popularized by Les Brown’s Band of Renown). The only downside we can readily perceive is the album’s skimpy 41:07 playing time. Rumor has it that London and Corre plan a follow–up session, provisionally named Swing for All Seasons. That’s definitely something to look forward to, as music so consistently charming is always in season.
Track Listing: Blue Skies; Misty; Sunny Side of the Street; Stormy Weather; Pennies from Heaven; A Foggy Day; Here