Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Anybody who thinks that big bands have gone the way of the Edsel should stop in Blues Alley on Sunday nights and catch Swingworks. The Big Band Era may be gone, but the big-band sound remains.
Swingworks is 18 Washington-area musicians who have been playing the Georgetown jazz club the past few Sunday nights and who hope to make themselves a regular attraction. Sunday night, the group showed its credentials with a well-paced set of standards that allowed for both ensemble work and individual flourishes.
Led by trumpeter Fred Ivy (who arrived midway into Sunday night's first set because of a recording commitment) and drummer Mickey Toperzer, Swingworks is generally composed of part-time musicians. Their music, though, is full tilt.
Pianist Kirk Stuart offered perfect fills and some tender solo moments, while trombonist Calvin Jones blazed through "Lost in the Shuffle." Tenor saxophonist Art Dawkins showed his stuff on the slower-paced "Yesterday," and Toperzer provided a solid foundation for all the tunes.
A big band's bread and butter is its group work, and all the musicians blended well throughout the evening. The powerful brass section was tempered by the saxes and piano, and the evening proved a welcome sound to people whose only recent exposure to big bands might be Doc Severinsen's quickies on the "Tonight" show.