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I have long believed that honesty is the best policy, and to be perfectly honest with you, I never heard of either of these guys before their CD showed up in my mailbox last October.

Unfortunately, the arrival of this disk coincided with the deterioration of my mental attitude owing to matters unrelated to this blog. I have discussed some of those matters here previously and I won’t bore you by revisiting them now.

Instead, let’s talk music! Felix Peikli is a clarinetist and his partner Joe Doubleday plays vibraphone. They are apparently quite popular, which just goes to show that you should never judge an artist based on name familiarity. Just because YOU never heard of them does not automatically mean they are no good.

For young men, they have both been around the block, so to speak, and their music speaks volumes.

The album they released back in October is called “It’s Showtime!” and is named after their Showtime Band, which has played gigs all over the world.

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The personnel for this album are:

Felix Peikli, clarinet
Joe Doubleday, vibraphone
Rossano Sportiello, piano
Russell Hall, acoustic bass
Ralph Peterson Jr., drums
Charles Turner, vocals (track 6 only)

“It’s Showtime!” is a love letter from the principals to their heroes, Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton. Accordingly, the album is filled with songs those two legendary players were known for.

The album opens with “After You’ve Gone,” written by Turner Layton. This is a perfect song to set the pace for what follows. It is light and breezy and a lot happier-sounding than you would expect from the title. The whole band really shines on this one.

“After You’ve Gone” is followed by one of Richard Rodger’s classics, “There’s A Small Hotel.” I listened to this one over and over, drawn back by Peikli’s clarinet and the driving sound of Hall’s bass. If you listen on good speakers, the bass really stands out and drives the melody. Eventually Doubleday on the vibes comes in, and the two compliment each other beautifully.

In an earlier life, I was in love with the music of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. Even today, many of their collaborations have aged into fond memories for many baby boomers and others. It is the stuff of legend, and can be heard in several popular movie and Broadway show musicals, including the quirky Gene Wilder film, “Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.” “Wonka” gave life to the beautiful “Pure Imagination,” which Peikli, Doubleday and company present here with a quiet beauty.

“Flying Home” was, of course, one of Lionel Hampton’s masterpieces, which he co-wrote with Benny Goodman. We have here another magnificent rendition that takes off flying from the opening notes and doesn’t let up. Doubleday and his vibes dominate this one, of course, and he does a bang up job.

I am, as usual, running out of time long before I have run out of music to write about. So let’s wrap it up on another high note with the Barney Kessel’s wonderful standard, “Swedish Pastry.” Peikli gives it a vigorous intro, and the rest of the guys do a magnificent job of backing him, as expected. A delight!

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I firmly believe you will find “It’s Showtime!” from Felix Peikli and Joe Doubleday to be a superb addition to your personal playlist, for a Saturday or any other night!

To find out more about the guys and their music, here are a couple of places to check out. The web site for Sopot Jazz Festival in Poland has some info about them from their appearance last year.

And you will find a more extensive write-up about them on The Jazz Corner web site.

Thanks for reading this.

Al Evans
Wood Village, Oregon

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My original content, including photos other than album covers, Copyright © 2017 by Al Evans. All rights reserved.

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