Zoot Suit Riot
Universal Records, 1997
REVIEW BY: Tom Lancing
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/05/1998
It appears that we are in the middle of a new swing revolution. New Swing bands and swing music has been appearing all over the place. One of the newer bands on the scene is the Cherry Poppin' Daddies. Their album Zoot Suit Riot is a lacking mix of swing and pop.
For anyone new to swing music, they might enjoy this album, but for those who have been listening to swing for some time, will undoubtedly find this album dull or even lame. While posting some good songs like "Come Back To Me" and the title cut "Zoot Suit Riot," the album lacks the original thrill and sound of the traditional swing music. I was hoping to find some interesting covers of traditional swing tunes, but none are found here.
One of the more annoying things is that the band feels it necessary to put the name of the band in several songs. I know what album I bought and don't need any reminders from the band. Add that to the fact that all the songs are basically the same, you have a band that is reaching and just can't make it. Steve Perry makes a good effort on lead vocals but falls short time and time again. The horn and reeds are lacking and so is a good percussionist. There is an interesting Spanish version of "Zoot Suit Riot" that might be worth picking up, but don't buy the album for just one song.
Now, I feel it necessary to explain something to everyone: You need more than seven guys to have a true swing band. A good swing band has four reed players. (Sax, clarinet, flute), four trombone players, four trumpet players, a drummer, piano, and even bass and guitar. Combine that with some true swing music and now you got a great swing band. For the curious, feel free to check out some examples: look up the "Outcast Jazz Band" at http://www.ojbmusic.com. They are good, they have fun and I even have them scheduled to play at my wedding next year. For those who live in the Chicago area, another interesting band is "The Big Swing" who can be seen every Wednesday night at Frankie's Blue Room in Naperville, Ilinois. Both of these band live and breath the big band and swing music.
As for the album, it is interesting but as I stated before, it's lacking. There are many other groups who can do the same if not better than the "Cherry Poppin' Daddies".