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  • In Full Swing
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In Full Swing

21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 14, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

In Full Swing is Mark O'Connor's tribute to Stephane Grappelli, the musician he describes as "my biggest violin hero." His band, the Hot Swing Trio, features bassist Jon Burr, who toured with Grappelli for years, and guitarist Frank Vignola, one of the finest American players in the Django Reinhardt tradition. Even though the selections include standards that Grappelli played during the 1930s with Reinhardt (such as "Lime House Blues" and "Honeysuckle Rose"), the music is far more than just a nostalgic recreation of the famous Hot Club sound. Instead, O'Connor and his bandmates have filtered musical elements from the past through a contemporary rhythmic and harmonic sensibility to come up with a style that sounds both timely and timeless. The trio is joined on a few tracks by singer Jane Monheit, who delivers a particularly moving rendition of "As Time Goes By," and by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who plays a delightfully abstract duet with O'Connor on the intro to "Tiger Rag." All of the musicians here are at the top of their game, but O'Connor's playing, which blends his formidable technique with deep emotion, is particularly fine. Stephane would be proud. --Michael Simmons

1. In Full Swing
2. Honeysuckle Rose w/ Jane Monheit & Wynton Marsalis
3. One Beautiful Evening
4. Fascinating Rhythm w/ Jane Monheit
5. Stephane and Django
6. Misty w/ Jane Monheit
7. 3 For All
8. Tiger Rag w/ Wynton Marsalis
9. As Time Goes By w/ Jane Monheit & Wynton Marsalis
10. Limehouse Blues

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 14, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00007I2KT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,495 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By M. R. Aronson on January 14, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Mark O'Connor, Jon Burr and Frank Vignola paid great tribute to Stephane Grapelli on their first CD ("Hot Swing") with stunning musicianship and great chemistry. On "In Full Swing", they up the ante with guest appearances by the great Wynton Marsalis and rising star Jane Monheit. It's easy to tell how much fun they had while recording this, and that fun translates to a very refreshing, spontaneous ease that permeates the set. Don't think for a second, though, that there's a sloppy or misplaced note to be heard anywhere on this CD. Jon and Frank are spectacular musicians and can really light a fire under Mark - listen to Limehouse Blues, where Mark shreds a handful of hairs from his bow, and then Frank absolutely rips it up with a guitar solo that would put a smile on Django's mug. Throughout the track, Jon's bass lines are churning like a freight train - if this doesn't move you, see your doctor!
Wynton's playing is as inspired and perfect as usual, and totally refreshing - the interplay between Mark and Wynton on "Tiger Rag" is like nothing I've heard before. The musicianship on this disc can certainly stand alone, but fans of Jane Monheit will definitely want this for the four standards she renders here - it's an extra treat to hear her lush voice with such wonderful backing.
To ice the cake, engineer Richard King's recording really does justice to the music - spacious and honest, it lets you hear the room and the people in it with intimacy and (on a good system) great dimension and dynamics. This is acoustic old-world swing of the highest order, laid down by some of the finest musicians on the planet with a few inspired new twists.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William J Wytrwal on April 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I always find it helpful to read the reviews from people who bought the CD and many of the earlier reviews I read on this CD were extremely helpful and right on the money. First, this is a good CD. Second, Jane Monheit is phenomenal. Third, although Mark O'Conner is a truly talented violinist, nobody can touch Stephane Grapelli for this type of music (no disrespect to O'Conner intended) .
With regard to Monheit's performance, I think it is particularly good because since this is not her album, the emphasis was on all the players; O'Conner, Monheit and Marsalis. Because of that, the cuts that feature all of these performers are really, really full. The singing is great, the trumpet is great and the violin is great -- they are all given the opportunity to shine and it is wonderful."Honeysuckle Rose" is just flat out smokin'. Truly outstanding. Monheit's vocals tend to anchor the piece but O'Conner and Marsalis do wonderful things with their parts. On Monheit's albums, she's the primary focus. The instruments are in service to her vocals. But, on this CD, she is jammin' with two obvious masters who get a chance to take the songs where they want to and these songs really fly. Similarly good are "As Time Goes By", "Fascinatin' Rhythm" and "As Time Goes By" (the latter two without Marsalis). The cuts with O'Conner and his supporting musicians are good but don't match the other collaborations. As a result, it's hard for me to think of this as just O'Conner's CD. I've seen O'Conner and his two sidemen in concert recently and they were very, very good. It was a truly great concert. But, if I had a chance to see O'Conner, Monheit and Marsalis together, wow, paradise. I would go anywhere for that show.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Southern Man on February 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I was not familiar with Mark O'Connor's work so it was quite a thrill when "Heading North" came roaring out of my speakers. What's wonderful about this CD is that it pays debt to Reinhardt and Grapelli while offering something new as well. There's a definite blueglass flavor to this session, creating a sort of "bluegrazz" if you will. The ensemble playing is technically excellent and, more importantly, a joy to listen to. Of the four tunes done with Jane Monheit, two are terrific, but the torch ballads "Misty" and "As Time Goes By" seem out of place here. They are fine (though not excellent) renditions that detract somewhat from the overall mood of the album. On the other hand, Wynton Marsalis' contribution to "Tiger Rag" is sensational, at times giving the tune a baroque feel. It makes one hope that Mr. Marsalis will collaborate with this trio again. Overall this is exhuberant music, beautifully played and I recommend it without hesitation.

You are most likely to enjoy this CD if you like Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grapelli, k d lang, Alison Krauss.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James Hymans on June 30, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The album Hot Swing! that this this group of musicians put out a few years ago has quickly grown into one of my favorite discs in the few months since I bought it, so I went into this album fully expecting to be just as impressed by this as I was by that one. And this album is impressive. The style is perfect, the playing is phenominal, and the rapport between these musicians is obviously incredible. The main problem with this album comes from the confinement of playing in the studio. Whereas Hot Swing! benefitted from a live setting and crowd to feed off of, this album ends up feeling slightly canned and restrained instead of the almost rapturous joy that these musicians seem to exude in a live setting. But, that is a relatively minor complaint and a problem that could scarcely have been avoided. My only other complaint is the vocal numbers, which while well performed and well fitted into the album, never quite grab the attention. Listening to O'Connor or Vignola work together or solo individually is always involving, but Monheit's vocals, which very nice, don't do as good a job carrying a song as the instrumentalists do. In all, I think the vocal numbers could have been cut and replaced by more instrumental pieces and the album would have gained a bit of continutity from it. But, like I said, the songs are well performed and don't feel out of place, they just aren't as inspired. The rest of the album, however, is full of lively, engaging, virtuosic performances from all involved. The tunes are hot, the performances are spectacular, and the guest spots from Wynton Marsalis are a must hear. It's not quite as good as Hot Swing!, but if you enjoyed that album, you will definitely enjoy this one.
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