Brian Setzer's Don't Mess With A Big Band, CD Review - by J. Blake

Posted on 8/31/2010 by J. Blake

(New York, NY)

Brian Setzer has never been considered a “blues guitarist”, but as one of the most respected and revered players to ever pickup the instrument, he has always attacked the guitar with the passion and intensity of a bluesman and the virtuosity of a jazz player. His skill is arguably unparalleled in the world of “rock music” and he has done for both rockabilly and big band jazz, what the British players did for the blues in the 1960s.

His latest live release, The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s, aptly titled, DON’T MESS WITH A BIG BAND (2CD set) highlights many of the guitar-slinger’s biggest career hits and, as usual, some astounding musicianship. Disc 1 pulls almost entirely from his big band catalogue; with the exception of fun versions of the “Batman Theme” (for the 1960s ABC television series) and Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”. Definite highlights here include the always breathtaking “Sleepwalk” (from 1998’s THE DIRTY BOOGIE) and Setzer’s unconventional take on Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee”; a guitar tour de force titled “Honey Man” from 2007’s WOLFGANG’S BIG NIGHT OUT.

Disc 2 finds Setzer looking back to his days with The Stray Cats, as he tackles the bulk of their biggest hits with more recent big band swing arrangements. Crowd pleasers like “Stray Cat Strut”, “Rumble in Brighton” and “Rock This Town” sound huge here, recorded live with the 18-piece orchestra. The disc closes with Setzer and company blowing the roof off of the joint with a booming big band encore of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “The House Is Rockin’”.

DON’T MESS WITH A BIG BAND is a sizzling live of album from one of America’s greatest guitar heroes. Its only real noticeable flaw is that it doesn’t quite live up to the precedent set by The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 2004 live effort, THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION.

It may not be “blues”, but with 19 tracks of pedal to the metal, “no-holds-barred” rockabilly/swing…is it really that far off?

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy: Jimmy Vaughan Live in NYC

Thanks and keep reading American Blues News and also check out Media Wah Wah for more of this writer’s thoughts and opinions about Movies, Music, TV & More.

NYC blues fans, make sure you check out Al Green live at B.B. King's Blues Club and Grill on September 2nd and Jerry Lee Lewis on the 13th!!!

Copyright © 2010 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved

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