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PKO Records proudly presents Those Who Choose To Swing Vol. II from drummer Pete Siers and his trio, with string bassist Paul Keller and pianist Larry Fuller. Pete Siers is one of the swingingest and most prolific drummers in the midwest. Pete performs frequently with a myriad of jazz bands ranging in style from big band swing to avant garde to dixieland to Latin jazz. Pete is well known as the leader of the popular Latin jazz group Los Gatos. Those Who Choose To Swing Vol. II is yet another in a long series of Pete Siers' creative victories. Those Who Choose To Swing Vol. II is a straight-ahead, mainstream jazz trio recording that covers lots of musical territory.
Pete's relationship with Paul Keller stretches back to 1981. Pete and Paul learned how to play jazz as they grew up together. On this CD, Pete and Paul are joined by their old friend, pianist Larry Fuller. Larry has worked with singer Ernestine Anderson and with drummer Jeff Hamilton. Larry was the pianist of choice for the late great bassist Ray Brown. Siers, Keller and Fuller are a great team. They have a shared love of the music of Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Monty Alexander, which is evident throughout this album.
The opening track, Honey Dripper, is a slick little up-tempo blues with an arrangement inspired by the Oscar Peterson Trio. The Pete Siers Trio tears it up with nifty bass breaks in the head and powerful solos from Larry and Pete. Honey Dripper is a real "barn burner".
Paul Keller states the melody on My Melancholy Baby, a familiar old tune from 1912. Pete says, "I like this as the second track of the CD. We gave My Melancholy Baby a relaxed swing feel and it works for me."
Swingin' The Blues is a tip of the hat to Count Basie, another hero of this trio. This one is just plain fun! The trio follows the original Basie arrangement closely, swingin' the blues, INDEED!
Charlie's Tune is dedicated to Pete's 5-year-old son Charlie Siers. Charlie's Tune is co-composed with music written by pianist Ellen Rowe and lyrics by vocalist Sunny Wilkinson. Ellen, Sunny, Pete and bassist Kurt Krahnke are featured on this track. This is a poignant tone poem about the wonder of parenthood. The song, the performance and the sentiment are pure gold.
Ray Brown's When You Go was suggested by Larry Fuller who performed this tune many times with Ray.
Pete comments on Paul Horn's Ecstasy: "I love this song! The simple melody sticks with you all day long. Ecstasy was performed by the Cal Tjader Quintet and I have also included it in the Los Gatos book. On this recording, with these cats, we had to swing it. It turned out great!"
Ray Evans' and Jay Livingston's Never Let Me Go is played with delicacy and emotion. Larry Fuller is a magnificent ballad player and he gets everything out of this gorgeous song. Siers and Keller support him with great emapthy and tenderness.
Bill Evans' Very Early was originally conceived and recorded as a jazz waltz. Here Pete puts a spritely samba beat on it, giving it different colors and new vitality.
Siers and Keller perform Duke Ellington's famous Mood Indigo as a bass/drum duet. This charming version of Mood Indigo is one of the highlights of Those Who Choose To Swing Vol. II. Remarkable communication and ideas abound making this track a delight.
Jitterbug Waltz by Fats Waller is one of Pete's favorite tunes so it had to be included in this program.
Louisiana is an old Dixieland favorite, modernized here with a latin groove. Pete always puts the group and the groove first.
The closing tune, Sunday, is swung mightily by the Pete Siers Trio. Everybody takes hearty solo helpings on this happy and recognizable tune. This track is a joyful ending to a wonderful record.