Ring Dem Bells

Ring Dem Bells

by Johnny Varro



This is the tenth Arbors label effort for pianist Johnny Varro as a leader, and the fourth with his Swing 7. An unsung hero to many in the modern mainstream or swing-to-bop world, Varro just keeps rolling along with his repertoire of consistently swinging vintage-based jazz that always holds attention due to the fact that he continually selects tunes either less recognized, forgotten, or off the beaten path. The musicianship on the front line is first-rate, with tenor saxophonist Scott Robinson, clarinetist and alto saxophonist Ken Peplowski, trumpeter Randy Sandke, and trombonist Dan Barrett portraying individual marks of excellence -- all familiar roster members from the Arbors stable. Bassist Frank Tate and drummer Joe Ascione join Varro in a supportive role more than as the main attraction. Going back to the Jelly Roll Morton songbook, the septet does the blues "Sweet Substitute" with Barrett's singing trombone leading the way and Sandke following, while "Buddy Bolden's Blues" is easy for these masterful musicians to the point of being standard fare, when in fact it is not. Duke Ellington is well represented on the upbeat title track where Varro sets the tone; Peplowski's Johnny Hodges-influenced alto sax bubbles and bristles during "Stompy Jones"; and there's a beautifully reverent, chamber-styled, quite different take of "Come Sunday." Varro's freshness comes out on an extrapolated and modified version of "You Stepped Out of a Dream"; Peplowski's clarinet is rendered in pronounced tones, fronting the remaining hushed horns for "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise"; the fun sound of the cartoonish Raymond Scott or John Kirby sextet is perfectly assimilated during a mutated take of Fryderyk Chopin's "Minute Waltz"; and the finale, "Sonny Speaks," is an out-and-out bopper. Varro's Swing 7 is one of the real sleeper mainstream bands, a complete ensemble in style, substance, and pure musicality, and one that more jazz listeners should pick up on.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/11/2008
Label: Arbors Records
UPC: 0780941136227
catalogNumber: 19362

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Varro   Primary Artist,Piano,Leader,Bandleader
Dan Barrett   Trombone
Ken Peplowski   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Scott Robinson   Tenor Saxophone
Joe Ascione   Drums
Randy Sandke   Trumpet
Frank Tate   Bass

Technical Credits

Rudolf Friml   Composer
Franz Lehár   Composer
Sigmund Romberg   Composer
Freddie Green   Composer
Jelly Roll Morton   Composer
Sonny Berman   Composer
John LaPorta   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Nacio Herb Brown   Composer
Jim Czak   Engineer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
James Van Heusen   Composer
Spencer Williams   Composer
Johnny Varro   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Arthur Johnston   Composer
Mat Domber   Executive Producer
Rachel Domber   Executive Producer
Brian Hooker   Composer
Michael Steinman   Liner Notes,Author

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews