Mercer Hassy Orchestra Presents “Duke’s Place” Coming April 15, 2024

Mercer Hassy Orchestra updates the classic jazz swagger on the celebratory of “Duke’s Place.” Amongst the pieces are some tried and true classics, deeper cuts, originals, and everything else. They create this immersive atmosphere with songs that stay just as long as they need, incorporating elements of pop, funk, rock, and more into their jazz template. Volume is a given for the muscular explorations of sound. The interplay between all the members adds to a series of hysterical aspects, bright, bold, beautiful colors, and a narrative that builds from each work. Best of all, the album works best when taken in as a cohesive whole.

The aptly named opener, “Daybreak Express,” goes for a wild, unhinged tempo with a horn section that is stunning. Layers are applied with care on the laid-back grooves of “Satin Doll.” An early highlight comes with the infinitely catchy “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” “U.M.M.G.” indulges in a luxurious setting, complete with sweeping chords. “In A Sentimental Mood” has a lightness on its feet, with an impressive buildup. Horns intersect with a cartoonish glee as “Hot And Bothered” includes it all, even cowbell in all the right places. On a more subtle side is the sedated mood of “Passion Flower.” Complete wildness emerges in the party atmosphere of the unhinged “Duke’s Place,” which is the album’s beating heart. With a smoother side, “Happy Go Lucky Local” has a mellowed rhythm, ending the album on a contemplative kick.

“Duke’s Place” presents the sheer grandeur of the Mercer Hassy Orchestra with chops aplenty and unstoppable rhythms.