Swing-era small-group jazz has temporarily touched down in Georgetown in the person of Tommy Gwaltney, who has not been heard much in these parts of late. He is holding forth at Charlie's only a few blocks from another club which he founded and at which, throughout the '60s, he blew hot in the company of Bobby Hackett. Wild Bill Davison and others of that ilk.
"Bang, bang, bang," Gwaltney counted off in "Runnin' Wild," and then with ease and fierce drive played the parts of both B.G. and Hamp on this Goodman specialty. The sparks flew on the Charlie Christian classic "Seven Come Eleven," on which he was all over the clarinet with properly wooden tone and just the hint of a growl.
Equally at home at the vibes, Gwaltney attacked the samba "Magic Lady" with aplomb and left spaces for pianist Billy Mitchell to fill deftly on "Bye Bye Blues Bossa Nova." Former Goodman and Artie Shaw guitarist Steve Jordan provided solid rhythm and turned in several fine, understand vocals. Tom Jeffery, a good combo drummer, was sizzling and precise in breaks.
Just about perfect -- and it would be if the electric bass were replaced with the real McCoy.
The quintet remains through Monday.