This beautiful exercise in nostalgia is full of excellent swing era singing by Maxine Sullivan, an African American singer of clear voice and precise delivarance, who became popular with some sort of ethnic swing, or jazz versions of "Loch Lomond" (a Scottish tune) and other folk-based (actually - European folk) songs. In this sense, from the popular music viewpoint this is an excellent album, technologically updated revision of 20 years old music. An excercise of nostalgia and an excellent pop album at the same time, this might ACTUALLY be of interest to wider audiences who like Diana krall, Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Dave Koz or the veteran singer Tony Bennett.
Excellent back-up band, the recreation of John Kirby's popular swing band, has some quite respectable musicians - Charlie Shavers (tp), today probably most famous for his trumpet battles with Roy Eldridge, Buster Bailey (cl), a great swing musician who also played well with Henry Red Allen, Russel Procope (as), best known for his work with Duke Ellington, excellent pianists Billy Kyle (p) or Dick Hyman (piano, harpsichord, organ), etc.
This is very good buck-up for any singer (to say the least), it's just that I was hoping for more solos, more space for their distinctive jazz talents. If I was giving it stars as an jazz album, "Flow Gently..." wouldn't fare well, but it wouldn't be fair, since it is basically swing oriented pop.
ALSO, when they play jazz (like on tracks 1, 6 and 11) it is in the tradition of "mature" and polished swing Artie Shaw's Grammercy Five was famous for...
Which is also OK, unless one prefers Basie's small groups of the era, Benny Goodman's best trio and quartet live recordings, or Teddy Wilson's collaborations with Billie Holiday (AND Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Roy Eldridge, Benny Goodman, Ben Webster and others).
I'm not giving it 5 stars just as a simbol of slight personal disappointment; if you're NOT a jazz fanatic, you'll be fine with this CD.
And, just to justify only 4 stars, I must say that putting in at least some liner notes would have been a good idea. Apparently, it isn't a part of this idea of selling CD-R created copies on demand.
So, there you go.
Jack Walker has a few nostalgic vocal comments on first two tracks and in the end. I'd blattantly lied if I said I knew who he is, since he speaks in the first person ("we had a singer with us"). Was he the host of the radio programe?