ANY ALBUM entitled "Happy Feet" had better be able to "keep your disposition sweet," as the song goes. The new album by Washington's Hot Mustard Jazz Band does just that, beginning with the delightful title tune (from the 1930 film "King of Jazz," featuring Paul Whiteman, Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys). The stop-time arrangement allows Folger choreographer Claudia Neeley to punctuate the tune with a tap dance that instantly evokes the golden age of jazz.
The same can be said for much of the music Hot Mustard performs -- a rich reprise of classic jazz and pop-music memories. As a rule, this well-seasoned septet takes the Dixieland front line, with its cheery mingling of brass and reeds, and combines it with the effortless 4/4 swing rhythms of drummer Dude Brown and guitarist Steve Jordan. Add to the mix the thoughtful if sometimes animated lyricism of pianist Larry Eanet and the nicely understated vocals of Dave Burns, and you have a band that bridges Dixieland and swing with style, affection and good cheer.
One other thing: Hot Mustard has taste. There's not a selection on this album, whether by the Gershwins, Johnny Mercer, Rodgers and Hart or Duke Ellington, that doesn't stand up. And Hot Mustard, through its collective spirit and carefully considered solos, makes each stand proud.
HOT MUSTARD JAZZ BAND -- "Happy Feet" (HMJB- 01); appearing at Devon Bar and Grill, Sundays 12 to 3, 6 to 10, and Wednesdays 8 to midnight.