|J Street Jumpers - Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?|
|Written by Joe Wood|
In today's music market, including the world of swing all too often bands appear who are harping on that rock n' roll early 90s sound with a swing beat. This works less often then it is tried. The J Street Jumpers are one of the few bands of late that more than play the notes on the sheet in front of them. The J Street Jumpers feel the music. This is obvious in their recent release Is you is or is you ain't my baby?. There is an interesting sound at work here that harkens back to the decades of the 30s to the 50s. J Street owes a lot the the allure of Marianna Previti for her vocal stylings that range from Andrew Sisters-esque to sounding a little like a young Ella Fitzgerald. Previti delivers her lines with the confidence of a determined woman from the silver screen of the 40s. This is actually quite refreshing and something I personally have been wanting to hear from a swing band with female vocals.
Is you is.., begins with a punch with its first track "Better Beware", then smoothly slides into a sultry number with Ain't But One. Arthur Gerstein, pianist also provides vocals. Gerstein's vocals on "Night Life Boogie" lack the knack that Previti's does, but he makes up for his vocals with his piano playing. Amazingly the J Street Jumpers cover Louis Prima's swing version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", also known as "Jump, Jive & Wail". Here for the first time is an interesting rendition which both Gerstein and Previti share the vocal duties. For once this over-covered song almost works.
Sixteen tracks are compiled on this CD, all covers, but done tastefully. Often with well placed passion for the musical execution. J Street's four horn section, upright bass, drums and a well placed electric guitar, please the ears especially on "When I Get Low I Get High" and "Sure Had A Wonderful Time Tonight." J Street, who hail from the Washington DC, visually don't look like the modern 90s swing group, although as mamma always said, "You can't judge a book by it's cover". J Street tends to play more political parties than they do night clubs which is sad, because they have become one of the best kept secrets on the east coast.