Who can forget the greatest party of all time? Fortunately I am old enough to remember some of it. Trust me when I say being in Las Vegas in the 60’s and late 70’s was the place to be as artists like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Bennett dominated the strip and airwaves. So amazing was this generation and its contribution to pop culture it still has it’s stamp on music today. Artist like Dave Matthews Band, Billy Joel, Jon Mayer bring the Big Band aftertaste to their blend of music. There is a new artist from the CD area that is cut from the cloth as some of the aforementioned bands. This artists goes by the name of Alex Cook and his latest “The Swing Set features 8 Tracks. Cook is backed by The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra.
“The Swing Set” (2013) is his latest release and it has much to commend it. Admittedly, there is a whole lot of variety to these arrangements and performances. First: the impressive Cook on vocals coupled with the impressive line-up of musicians backing him up make quite the first impression. Cook and company delivers rock solid playing and impressive vocal skills to boot. This is testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. Second: Vocally Cook is one of those singers you can tell is having a lot of fun behind the Microphone. HE brings heart and soul to every performance. He’s got all the typical attributes needed of an effective singer within this particular style of music. Third: Cooks clever combination of modern rock songs within the Big Band atmosphere literally blew me away. Case in point Rio by Duran Duran – who would have thought? Cook has the creativity, production expertise and songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. There is also a unique quality to this catalogue that breaks the mold from the mundane pop-rock that’s been filling the airwaves lately. Cook delivers a fusionist twist of musical styles that will remind you of Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett and even John Legend. Not every square inch is filled with musical ambience delivered under duress – but musical space this allows the music to breathe on its own.
My top tracks are “Rio” “More Than Words” and “All of Me”
Equally as impressive is how marketable this catalogue truly is. I always said if you can play it a party, then it’s marketable. Depending on the style of party the music of Alex Cook is extremely marketable with a fresh sound that is simply very likeable very much like the artist himself. All 8 tracks will genuinely lift your spirits unlike most music you hear on the radio these days.
Final Word “The Swing Set“ by Alex Cook has everything. It’s an endearing album limited by nothing. I would imagine in time we will hear more from Cook. Time will tell but I can honestly say this is one artist set up for success for a tour down the road with his marketable appeal and fresh reinvented new/old sound that gives modern music a well needed shot in the arm.
by Michael Odening
Overall Rating: 4/5