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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


Tony Fortunato & The Emperors of Swing

Some parents try to teach their children the value of a dollar. If you want a big bang for your buck, let me recommend the ambitiously titled debut CD, 1 (as in volumes), by Tony Fortunato & the Emperors of Swing (DOK ROK Records). There are 22 tracks of music waiting for the listener, served up to order by Fortunato in his multi-tasking role of saxophone, vocals, and conductor. He's backed by a full range of trumpets, trombones, tuba, guitar, bass and drums in classic big band style. The throaty Brenna Thorpe rounds out the swingin' sounds with a voice that is rich with honey. The taste is particularly sweet on "When I Fall in Love" and Fly Me To The Moon."

No mistaking, this is an album of standards. Some of the more inventive arrangements include "My Opener," a star-spangled declaration that every swing DJ should own, and "Jump Jive & Wail," which seems deceptively predictable until a fascinating mambo backbeat throws you off balance. The Emperors' swingtastic version of "Summertime" is another standout. The album overall is very danceable, and Fortunato approaches his material with a great desire to stir the heart of a lindy hopper. The tracks pop with an abrupt pace and then move into slow dance torch songs, from the opening "Whistle Me Some Blues" to "It's Almost Like Being in Love." You have to love a sound this big, and 22 tracks is barely enough to contain it.

—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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