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Don Stiernberg with Rusty Holloway and Jeff Jenkins

Swing 220
Blue Night Records
 

Many musicians play swing, but few swing with the authenticity of Don Stiernberg, with whom the expression “Dig your well deep” comes to mind.

On Swing 220, Stiernberg is joined by Jeff Jenkins on guitar and Rusty Holloway on upright bass.

For this session, Jenkins uses a 1949 Epiphone Emperor while Stiernberg plays his ’96 two-point Nugget, and Holloway plays a 19th-century Collin Mettzin double bass.

The songs come from the great American songbook – standards including “Night and Day,” “All of Me,” “Pennies From Heaven,” “Lady Be Good,” “Stardust,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “How High the Moon,” and “Limehouse Blues.” The arrangements aren’t flashy – they begin with a statement of the melody then the trio races off with solos for all. As the leader, Stiernberg takes the first improv solo pass, followed by Jenkins’ guitar. Both have the swing sensibility so thoroughly ingrained that while they go out on improvisational limbs, they never step outside the melodic and harmonic conventions of traditional swing music. This is a lovely album of beautifully played traditional American music.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Mar. ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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