December 2002, Jazz World Magazine "Jazz Now", www.jazznow.com
Midiri Brothers Orchestra
Joe Midiri, clarinet, alto saxophone; Paul Midiri, drums; Pat Mercuri, guitar; Joe Holt, piano; Rick Linn, Art Leiby, Paul Midiri, trombones; Steve Schaffner, Ron Cason, Dave Dilks, trumpets; Joe Vettori, Ed Golaszewski, Bob Quaile, Wendell Hobbs, saxophones; Tim Lekan, Bruce Kaminsky, bass; Jim Lawlor, drums; Paula Johns, vocals.
Joe Midiri is brave enough and good enough to recall some of the best clarinet players when they were in full spate; spirits of the past surface; Goodman, Teagarden, Bechet, Dorsey; the Midiri brothers milk the memories. The thirteen tracks are not overly long, no time for extended solos; this is ensemble playing of the highest order, classic swinging standards played with flair and joyfulness.
Apart from the big band there is a Quartet and a Quintet, the former offering a delightful "Petite Fleur", a warm guitar, soft drumming and impeccable clarinet playing. "Bye Bye Blackbird" is enhanced by the singing of Paula Johns, "Caldonia" really cooks and Cole Porter's "Night and Day" gets the sentimental treatment from the guitar of Pat Mercuri and Joe Midiri's clarinet; going out with smoking fingers on the title track "Finger Bustin'". All these tracks are a delight, if you are a lover of big band swing, expect to be delighted. I loved every minute of it.
by Ferdinand Maylin