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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


Harmonious Wail

I have tremendous respect for musicians who take an idea and introduce it politely to a seemingly unrelated one. It's that inherent contradiction that makes the music of Harmonious Wail so interesting, and the design of their newest album, Nonchalant, so intriguing.

Harmonious Wail fashions itself a "gypsy swing" band. Their sound is a subtle blend of bluegrass and jazz, given substance with sly female vocals backed by mandolin, bass and guitar. The swinging tracks jump and the haunting acoustic melodies call forth something vaguely eastern European. But it's just great musicianship—these guys are from New England. The standards they play are the poetry of masters: Django Reinhardt, Jethro Burns, Stochelo Rosenberg, Fapy Lafertin, and Robin Nolan.

Lead vocalist Maggie Delaney-Potthoff is superb, presenting herself smoothly on selections such as "Perhaps" and "Cou Cou." Her sensuous voice is especially well-evidenced on the track "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To." Tom Waselchuk and John Mesoloras provide a detailed acoustical web for Maggie to spin through, but they really shine when the focus is on the instruments themselves, such as on "Minor Swing " or "Armondo's Rhumba."

The material is polished and original in its revelation of songs that might be touted as standards, viewed here with a unique synergy of styles. This album is certainly not the province of new material, but it lives on the corner of original ideas and creative interpretations.

—Frankie Hagan

Year 1999 Reviews
Year 2000 Reviews
Year 2001 Reviews
Year 2002 Reviews
Year 2003 Reviews
Michael Andrew & Swingerhead—Destination Moon and Michael Andrew Pays Tribute to Frank Sinatra
Susie Arioli Swing Band—Pennies From Heaven
Blue Eyed Devils—The Legend of Shorty Brown
Tony Fortunato and The Emperors of Swing—1
Ronnie Haig—Still Kickin' Butt
Harmonious Wail—Nonchalant
Frank Lamphere—Ain't Love a Kick
James Last—Gentleman Of Music
Billy Murray—Anthology: The Denver Nightingale
Jeff Potter & The Rhythm Agents—Rhythm Riot
Lee Press-On & The Nails—El Bando en Fuego!
Rhythm Rockets—Take Off
Jane Russell—Let's Put Out the Lights
Swing Legacy—Dancing on a Blue Moon
Don Tiki—The Forbidden Sounds of Don Tiki and Skinny Dip with Don Tiki
Retro Reading Reviews
The Art of Noir: The Posters and Graphics from the Classic Era of Film Noir

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