Jazz as dance music? There was a time when that wasn’t even a question. Has the time come again for upbeat, swinging, danceable jazz? Rob Reich answers that question in the affirmative on this album of 14 original compositions evoking the late 1930s, when Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and others made dance-floor music. Reich, an accordion virtuoso who has worked with Tin Hat, Gaucho, and Circus Bella, put together a sextet that is comfortable both playing and messing with Swing Era vocabulary. Reich (strictly a pianist here), Ben Goldberg (the clarinetist of his generation), trumpeter Andrew Stephens (a young Northern California rising star), veteran guitarist Craig Ventresco (a shamefully underappreciated master of ragtime, rural blues, and early jazz), bassist Daniel Fabricant (a longtime Reich collaborator), and drummer Elizabeth Goodfellow (who tours with Iron and Wine) echo, but never imitate, plenty of forbears on their respective instruments. You might find yourself name-checking historical figures on first listen, but as mind and body succumb to the sway of “Shimmytown Shuffle,” “How to Be a Weirdo,” and “Viper’s Nightmare,” you’ll find, happily, that you’ve time-traveled into a present moment full of its own surprises.
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