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JAZZ REVIEW : Kings of Swing Play Goodman-- and Then Some

March 11, 1993|DON HECKMAN

Buddy De Franco, Terry Gibbs and Herb Ellis bring at least a century and a half of jazz experience to Catalina Bar & Grill, where they appear through Sunday.

But De Franco, Gibbs and Ellis--who are in or approaching their 70s--showed no signs of slowing down during their opening set Tuesday. Performing as the Kings of Swing, they ripped through a mostly up-tempo program dedicated to the music of Benny Goodman.

De Franco was the first post-Swing era clarinetist to emerge after Goodman's glory years, but he is a far different type of musician and it was fascinating to hear him applying his finger-popping, chromatically tinged improvisations to some Goodman classics.

Both Gibbs and Ellis took a step away from the Goodman association--Gibbs with a marvelously fluid reading of "What's New," and Ellis with one of his characteristically slipping and sliding tours through the blues.

Tom Rainier on piano, Andy Simpkins on bass and Frankie Capp on drums provided a solid, rhythm-section drive that rivaled even the best of the famous Goodman back-up teams.

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