Posted online 5/4/01:
The Midiri Brothers Orchestra (MBO)
By Jack Bowers for allaboutjazz.com
The Midiri Brothers are drummer Paul and clarinetist Joe who’s the clear-cut headliner on this high-spirited album by quartet, quintet and big band. The passionate Goodman disciple commands the spotlight on almost every selection, and for good reason - he’s a world-class swing-based player whose melodious salvos never fail to please. Vocalist Paula Johns shares center stage on five of the ten big-band numbers (Sidney Bechet’s “Petite Fleur” is performed by a quintet, Charlie Shavers’ “Undecided” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” by a quartet, each led by Joe Midiri and including Paul on drums, bassist Bruce Kaminsky and guitarist Pat Mercuri with pianist Joe Holt added on “Petite Fleur”). Johns has a genial mid-range voice and sunny disposition that blend well with the orchestra’s swinging purpose, especially on “Come Dance with Me,” “Bye Bye Blackbird” and her call-and-response antics with the band on Sy Oliver / Trummy Young’s “&ldsquo;Tain’t What You Do” (with Joe Midiri on alto sax). She’s not the only singer; Jim Lawlor, who shares the drum chair with Paul Midiri, gives us the lowdown on “Caldonia” and Joe Midiri lays aside the reeds for a few moments to fashion a respectable Louis Armstrong impression on “I Want a Little Girl.” Joe Midiri shows his more pensive side on “Petite Fleur,” “Night and Day” and his transcription of Bob Haggart’s “My Inspiration,” and uses both alto and clarinet to hotfoot it through Tootie Camarata’s searing finale, the aptly named “Finger Bustin’.” Joe Midiri’s definitely the genuine article and the album’s forty-four minutes-plus contains lots of good music that’s fun to hear and appreciate.
Contact: Joseph Midiri, P.O. Box 961, Mays Landing, NJ 08330; EMidiri@aol.com
Track Listing: Clarinade; Don’t Get Around Much Anymore; Petite Fleur**; Come Dance with Me; My Inspiration; Bye Bye Blackbird; *Undecided; As Time Goes By; Caldonia; I Want a Little Girl; ‘Tain’t What You Do; *Night and Day; Finger Bustin’ (44:56).
Personnel: Joe Midiri, clarinet, alto sax; Paul Midiri (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 13), Jim Lawlor (2, 4, 6, 8-11), drums; Pat Mercuri, guitar; Joe Holt, piano; Tim Lekan, Bruce Kaminsky (3, 7, 12), bass; Rick Linn, Art Leiby, Paul Midiri, trombone; Steve Schaffner, Ron Cason, Dave Dilks, trumpet; Joe Vettori, Ed Golaszewski, Bob Quaile, Wendell Hobbs, reeds. *Quartet - Joe Midiri, clarinet; Paul Midiri, drums; Pat Mercuri, guitar; Bruce Kaminsky, bass. **Quintet - add Joe Holt, piano.