Phil Ogilvie's Rhythm Kings
There are numerous inventive, inspired solos here, and even some wonderful singing: check out Gene Bartley's velvet vocal on "If I Had You" or Dapogny's convincing blues gospel shouting on "Lawd, Lawd." But what stands out is the impeccable ensemble work. The reed trio of Andrew Bishop, Tom Bogardus, and Mike Jones, each playing clarinet and saxes, combined with the brass trio of Paul Finkbeiner and Ingrid Racine on trumpet and Gene Bartley on trombone, gives P.O.R.K. an enormous range of tonal colors and an ever-changing yet unified sound.
Chris Smith on tuba and Rod McDonald on guitar and banjo solo on only one cut highlighting both how good they are and how perfectly they play their roles in the rhythm section the rest of the time. And Steve Fentriss, who is not yet old enough to buy a drink in any of the clubs in which P.O.R.K. appears, plays his kit like the reincarnation of Gene Krupa.
Until recently, most of this music has been available only on scratchy old seventy-eights. It always was great music, but the old recordings didn't sound like it. P.O.R.K., on Rhythm Club, sounds like it.
[Originally published in December, 2004.]