The retro-big band sound on this release gleams bright like the bumper on a '57 Chevy. So bright, in fact, that a reasonably astute listener couldn't be blamed for wondering if the the Ballet of the Bouncing Beagles might not be the name of troupe of Vegas showgirls, burlesque dancers, or an Ice Capades show.
Phil Kelly and his Northwest Prevailing Winds bring a tight throwback athleticism to the proceedings here. Although they often skirt the fringe of bebop in their solos, for the most part the band stays entrenched in the matching dinner jacket era, paying tribute to the work of bandleaders like Louis Prima and Glenn Miller.
There are some evocations of latter day influences. Ewe Doo on Bubba's Shoux is referred to in the liner notes as a tribute to New Orleans street beat music ; likewise Grover a tribute to smooth jazz pioneer Grover Washington, puts the musicians far from the big band era. The arrangement on Grover is convincingly Bob James, and the salsa sound on the humorously titled Estes Frijoles Causa Me Falta Pasar A Los Vientos will take listeners south of the border; for the most part, however, the crisp big band sound Kelly has perfected takes center stage on this album.