Music Reviews

The Hot Toddies Jazz Band

The Hot Toddies Jazz Band

12 of the best tracks from 2023

Prohibition Productions

Formats available: Download, CD

The Hot Toddies Jazz Band

Got an itch for a bit of trad jazz? Maybe it’s blues swing you are after? A touch of the post prohibition jazz scene? Or maybe you’re after the sound of Kansas City rhythms of the Count Basie big band? Still yearning for the joy of western swing played by a tight band? Or maybe you were hoping to hear the style that made Louis Prima so iconic? Missing shades of Lindy hop at home?

Step this way folks, you are in for a treat, this album contains all the above and will sooth bodies suffering from the summer heat and save the soul from the endless stream of tedium in the news. The Hot Toddies are a big band and they have garnered a big stack of awards and fame (at least in New York city).

The band is Led by Grammy-nominated violinist Gabe Terracciano  and composer/producer/drummer Patrick Soluri , the band features a host of musicians with a swing jazz worlds backgrounds. They are: Justin Poindexter (guitars), Alphonso Horne, Dan Levinson and Jon Seiger (trumpets), Danny Lipsitz (reeds), J. Walter Hawkes and Ron Wilkins (trombones),Brandi Disterheft, Ian Hutchison and Wallace Stelzer (bass), Queen Esther and Hannah Gill (vocals) and special guest Gordon Webster (piano).

The download sent for review came in a very pleasant 24-bit/48kHz guise. As the recording is very good, even those who are not endowed with high-end IEMs or headphones will be able to enjoy a hi res recording at its very best. The recording is very good, portraying the scale of the very large space required to accommodate such a vast number of musicians. The sound stage is deep and extends beyond the speakers left and right edges.

The musicianship, as expected given the vast experience of the players, is exemplary. Whether the band is busy serving western swing, swing, blues or Charleston era tunes, they sound fab. There is a sense that the various people involved in getting this effort of the ground are all steeped in the music and that this is a labour of joy and love to the music and culture it represents.

The Hot Toddies Jazz Band is a short 11 track album, it lasts just over 41 minutes but the pleasure per minute it delivers breaks records. The work and collaboration on this album began in 2019 but was interrupted by the pandemic and resumed in 2022. The album tracks feature licks by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra with an opening that pays homage to the famous drum beat of Benny Goodman’s Swing, Swing, Swing immortalised by Gene Krupa, as well as classics such as W.C. Handy’s Saint Louis Blues. There are renditions of jazz and blues standards from the past 80 to 90 years that hold their own with fresh interpretation and superb sounds from all who are involved. Fans of swing, blues and western swing are going to be enjoying this album at home and in their journeys and commutes, it will make time pass with an airy smiley ambiance that keeps the blues at bay.

The Hot Toddies Jazz Band album is a merry romp from its first to last note, if this music doesn’t put a smile on your lips and jive in your step, check and make sure your pulse is still intact. Very highly recommended to anybody who wants to hear the classic jazz styles before Be Bop took over that world and made everything serious.

Reuben Klein

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