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Hannah Gill - Everybody Loves A Lover
(Turtle Bay Records, 2023)
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Squirrel Nut Zippers are two very different animals. The former is a novelty act presenting parody as authenticity and the latter expands the swing language by emphasizing its different traditions of delta blues, gypsy jazz, and klezmer that all informed the swing era. The swing revival of the early 1990s was a revenue stream that went dry once the novelty wore off. True swing period performance acts are few and far between. The Brian Setzer Orchestra lays a more legitimate claim on the heritage of swing than does the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.
This is where Hannah Gill elbows her way in, thirty years later. Using a seasoned septet, Gill presents eleven Hit Parade period selections with zero vamps detected. Not one “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” or “Chattanooga Choo Choo” here. Gill unearths the likes of “Moonlight Savings Time” and “It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie” which open and close the recital, respectively. Gill plays the former straighter than Blossom Dearie and the latter poured into a late 1920s Chicago jazz pitcher. Ryan Weisheit’s clarinet makes its statement in each.
“Leaves” have a large place in the present repertoire. Gill’s “Lullaby Of The Leaves” is the missing link between Connee Boswell and Quintette du Hot Club de France. The warhorse “Autumn Leaves” is given a breezy ballad treatment, small combo, small venue performance a light year from Jo Stafford’s string-laden 1950 performance. Guitarist Greg Ruggerio is given a solo chorus followed by a Sam Chess plunger trombone exposition, lending a sepia patina to the music.
Gill is youthful in her early 20s with the enthusiasm of the converted for this music and its historically informed performance. That this is her full-length debut recording is impressive in Gill’s fully mature voice and delivery. Most importantly, Gill makes this music fun and sound as if she enjoyed greatly making Everybody Loves A Lover.