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March 2023
Vol. 22, No. 6

CD Reviews

LINDY AND THE HOPS: Kicking and Screaming

by Paul HomiczApril 2022

Tom Dorsey had it. His brother Jimmy had it as well. Count Basie and Duke Ellington had it in spades. For that matter, even Fred Warring had some of it when he presided over his Pennsylvanians. What I’m talking about is the ability of a bandleader to gather together talented musicians and get them to swing as a unit. Okay, I admit that it’s not rocket science, but it takes a bit of talent to put together a band and get them to bring life to the musical charts laid out in front of them.
At the fledgling side of the 21st century, about a 100 years after the dawn of swing music, Lindy Edwards proves that she’s got it, too. Her new disk, Lindy and the Hops, swings from the front porch, into the front door, through the kitchen and dining room, out the back door, past the back porch, and well into the backyard.
In the past several years, Edwards has made a name for herself, playing sax and singing in the band Madhat Hucksters, a group that mines old standards and swing hits from decades past. Edwards fills her new EP with five of her own compositions that were inspired by the swing and blues of yesteryear. Don’t let the titles, like “Smooth as Gravel” and “Bastards,” fool you into thinking that this is something of a post-punk, Lou Reedesque angst-laden disk. The songs are fun toe-tappers.
Edwards surrounded herself with a half dozen talented players, some from the Madhat Hucksters. The rhythm section—comprising Angelica Pruitt on bass, David Sullivan on drums, Michael Till on guitar, and Thomas Meyer on piano—is solid and the rest of the band forms well around them. Sean Mehaffy joins in with alto and baritone sax, and Nightshade Navarro plays clarinet and soprano sax.
Edwards includes an adaptation of a Shostakovich composition. Before you start to think that this is some atonal extravaganza, the Russian composer created a marvelous jazz suite. Edwards and her fellow arranger, Albert Alva, did a great job of giving one of the suite’s composition’s a full swing treatment.
The disk was recorded at Dirty Boulevard Company, with all of the recording and mixing provided by Ian Tordella. Justin Weis completed the mastering of the recording in San Francisco at Trakworx. Both these guys did great work. The disk has a good overall sound and the timbres of the instruments come through clearly.

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