I must confess that when I saw this album and read about it, I was more than a little intrigued. Like many people my age I have been fully aware of Pat Travers and remember him from the Seventies and Eighties in particular, but that was from a blues-based hard rock perspective and certainly never expected this! As the album title and cover may lead you to believe, what we have here is a selection of big band classics from the Forties and Fifties, which Travers has arranged so the electric guitar is now the lead instrument. Some are purely instrumental, while others do have vocals, and the result is something which I must confess is really interesting. Over the years I have seen various rock musicians take jazz songs and move them into a pure rock context (Steve Waller, ex-MMEB, always performed an incredible version of Glenn Miller’s “6-5000” when I saw him), but here we have a slightly different approach in that Travers has worked hard to keep the jazz sound. Piano is often the foundation of the music, with drums which combine both jazz and rock approach, and a bass that sometimes is electric and others is upright. He also doesn’t shy away from having brass sections when he feels it is right.
While Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood” is treated much more as rock, others such Duke Ellington’s “Take The ‘A’ Train” is more into the jazz arena as he allows himself to play alongside the lead horns, emphasising notes, before going into a solo where he maintains very much the jazz feel. It is an interesting album, and for someone such as me, who is happy to listen to pure jazz as well as hard rock/metal and other forms, there is a lot here to enjoy. What Hammerheads will think of this I have no idea, whereas I am sure jazz purists will be our buying copies just so they can set fire to them, but if you have an open mind this is a very pleasant jaunt through some well-known standards.
7/10 Kev Rowland