After Midnight - Apple Honey
Reviewed by Scott Yanow, author of 11 books including Swing, The Jazz Singers, The Great Jazz Guitarists and Jazz On Record 1917-76, August 2014
"The most recent recording by the Colorado-based After Midnight uses vintage tunes as the foundation for colorful improvisations that, while swinging, are not confined to the 1940s. To this group’s great credit, they do not closely copy the original recordings or imitate their historical predecessors. Clarinetist-leader Roger Campbell, even on a few numbers that are associated with Benny Goodman (such as “Whispering,” “Body And Soul” and “AC-DC Current”), creates his own musical ideas, sounding quite expressive and inventive. Vibraphonist Rick Weingarten (inspired by Red Norvo), pianist Jerry Weiss and guitarist Mike McCullough all take plenty of concise solos while bassist Ced Forsyth and drummer Jim Moore are excellent in support. The musicians are free to play more "modern" ideas if they fit the songs and they display their own musical personalities.
McCullough’s singing on half of the songs is a major plus. He gives fresh life to “Choo Choo Ch-Boogie” and “Diga Diga Doo,” is excellent on the Leonard Cohen hit “Dance Me To the End Of Love” (a change-of-pace that really succeeds), and partly sings “La Vie En Rose” in French. Among the instrumental highpoints of Apple Honey are “Get Happy,” “Whispering", “Jojo Swing” and “AC-DC Current.”
With its inventive arrangements and attractive group spirit, After Midnight on Apple Honey reveals its own take on swing music. It is well worth checking out."