Various Artists

Various Artists
Texas All Star Big Band Bash

Top Cat Records TopCat1062

By Art Tipaldi
November 2006

If you’re gonna have a party, Texas style, you need three things: earthy guitars, powerful horns, and smoky barbecue.

This big band bash has everything but the barbecue. Around for nearly a decade, the bash raises money for everything from music workshops for talented kids to music scholarships. However, on this Saturday night in Texas, it’s the warm brotherhood between the all-star musicians that comes through the speakers. Produced by Johnny Nicholas and Kaz Kazanoff, this bash features many of the Lone Star State’s favorite musical sons playing a variety of music that celebrates America’s rich musical heritage.

The bash pays tributes to many styles, regions and innovators. Nicholas offers tributes to the late Doug Sahm on the R&B ballad “Down In The Alley,” and R&B legend Wynonie Harris on “Good Morning Judge”. He also honors tenor great Red Prysock on the big band styled “The Hummer,” and Roy Milton on “Baby I’m Gone”.

Then, in the middle of this bash, Greg Piccolo’s breathy tenor on “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” pays homage to Ben Webster, one of the finest of Kansas City’s swinging tenor players. The Jimmie Vaughan and Piccolo instrumental, “The Ironic Twist,” is a true Texas guitar and tenor blues shuffle. Guitarist Stephen Bruton combines with Joel Guzman’s accordion on “This Old World Needs Love,” while Sarah Fox calls on Guzman and the Mexican Toots Trio Band on “Maybe, Maybe”. Guzman and Augie Meyers, on the Vox organ, dance the traditional Tex Mex polka on “Mescal Rose”.

Later in the bash, Meyers takes the audience to the Crescent City on Fats Domino’s “In Love Again”.

Fans of that big band Texas sound will also be rewarded. Kaz’s massive Texas Horns kick brass on two instrumental standards: Duke Ellington’s rollicking “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing,” and Miles Davis’ “All Blues”.

Led by Vaughan’s sparse guitar, the party closes with Nicholas singing “Texas Flood”.

Now go out and get some beef on the smoker.

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