With so much 21st century Jazz to choose from, it’s refreshing a disc turns up that harks back to the swinging tunes of decades past – especially one that includes several from Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. In this case it is Is That All There Is by a Canadian ensemble named after Mr Armstrong himself, Misses Satchmo – and one comprising several extraordinarily talented Québécois, as a matter of fact. Not only that, the ensemble is fronted by a trumpet-playing vocalist Lysandre Champagne, who swings breezily through the viscerally exciting music, leading – among others – a wonderfully-resonant contrabassist, Blanche Baillargeon, who enhances the music throughout.
Appropriately lean and exquisitely curved, the music of Misses Satchmo loses all the fluff that often surrounds this music, preferring instead sinuous versions that are entertainingly economical. To the dancing melodies are added insistent rhythms and satisfying harmonies with the added element of a saw, no less, on three tunes: “If You Want To Share Your Love”, “Jonah and the Whale” and “Is That All There Is?”
There are plenty of other gems in this jewel box including Fats Waller (and Andy Razaf’s) “Keepin’ out of Mischief” and a delightfully luscious “Jazz Lips” penned by Lil Hardin (also once Miss Armstrong). Maude Locat’s cascading piano can be heard on an appropriately ominous version of “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, and “I Want a Big Butter and Egg Man”, which captures the need for the preferred soulmate of the day with aplomb and great wit. The music expertly negotiates the effervescent quality of the Roaring Twenties and then some. By the end of the nearly three-quarters of an hour of swinging music you’re left wanting, well, a lot more.
Track List: 1: Intro; 2: Medley: My Babe / Muddy Water; 3: It Ain’t Necessarily So; 4: Why Don’t You Do It Right; 5: If You Want to Share Your Love; 6: Ol’ Man Mose; 7: Tight Like This; 8: Jonah and the Whale; 9: Keepin’ out of Mischief Now; 10: I’ll Wait for You; 11: I Want a Big Butter and Egg Man; 12: Jazz Lips; 13: Is That All There Is?.
Personnel: Lysandre Champagne: trumpet, flugelhorn and voice; Yvan Belleau: clarinet and tenor saxophone; Jeffery Moseley: guitars, banjo, dobro and chorus; Blanche Baillargeon: contrabass and chorus; Marton Maderspach: drums, marimba, whistling and chorus; Nicolas Letarte-Bersianik: saw (5, 8 & 13); Maude Locat: piano (3 & 11); Christian Leclerc: tuba (13).
Label: BROS Music