Rapport magazine "America's only National Book and Music review Magazine"
Volume 22, No. 2, Rapport reviewer, W.Y.
Midiri Brothers Orchestra
Joe Midiri, Paul Midiri, Pat Mercuri, Bruce Kaminski, Joe Holt, Rick Linn, Art Leiby, Steve Schaffner, Ron Cason, Joe Vettori, etc. Midiri Records
It's been a long time since we heard a Big Band with the gusto that's a throwback to the Golden Era. The Midiri Brothers - Joe on clarinet and Paul on drums (* please see note below) - have gone leagues beyond many other bands who've tried to emulate the feel of bygone days. Even vocalist Paula Johns sounds like the usual band singer of bygone years. The effervescent of the band led by a striking and lyrical clarinet lead has the aura of what Benny Goodman laid down annums back.
The tunes are good, too. Petite Fleur, the trademark composition of Sidney Bechet is given a rousing turn by the band and Bob Haggart's superb creation My Inspiration is delivered in first rate style. Here, the feisty clarinet play by Joe Midiri, backed by the drums of Paul Midiri is an all-flags flying outing. The band is also excellent on Bye Bye Blackbird highlighted by the vocalization of Paula Johns. There is a nifty trumpet solo by Steve Schaffner here that adds to the superior quality of the Joe Midiri arrangement.
What makes every tune on the disk work is that the arrangements have been totally created for the band, nothing stock is evidenced here. Good example is the wonderful clarinet solo on Undecided, which has become a staple in band books since trumpeter Charlie Shavers created it in the 1940's.
Pat Mercuri's guitar and Bruce Kaminski's bass add to the overall treats. When it comes to a slower tempo ballad, Paula Johns' vocal with the band on As Time Goes By pays off nicely. The variety within the Gene Rizzo arrangement also adds Wendell Hobb's warm tenor sax to the mix. Another gem is Caldonia which features a vocal by Jim Lawlor emulating that of the tune's creator Louis Jordan. Other tunes on the disc include Night and Day, Clarinade, and ‘Taint What You Do.
It's a joy to behold as is the disc.
|* On Finger Bustin', drum credits were shared by Paul Midiri and Jim Lawlor|
Tracks by Paul Midiri:
# 1 ~ Clarinade
# 3 ~ Petite Fleur
# 5 ~ My Inspiration
# 7 ~ Undecided
# 9 ~ Caldonia
# 12 ~ Night and Day
# 13 ~ Finger Bustin'
Tracks by Jim Lawlor:
# 2 ~ Don't Get Around Much Anymore
# 4 ~ Come Dance With Me
# 6 ~ Bye Bye Blackbird
# 8 ~ As Time Goes By
# 10 ~ I Want a Little Girl
# 11 ~ 'Taint What You Do