Henry Butler/Steven Bernstein And The Hot 9 - Viper's Drag. Vampy, bouncy, playful, and saucy: Here's an incredibly fun take on resurrecting hot jazz from yesteryear, courtesy of 64-year-old Henry Butler, one of the best living New Orleans pianists (and, trust me, it says a lot to be mentioned in such fine company) and 52-year-old ace trumpeter-arranger Steven Bernstein of New York. Viper's Drag is a kick-up-your-heels romp through ragtime and early jazz classics, some written nearly 90 years ago by the likes of Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton, yet modernized in a swinginG, yet subtle and respectful way. The disc is noteworthy both for it's irresistible music and for the fact it's the latest incarnation of the Impulse! Jazz label, which used to record none other than John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, and other legends. -review by Tom Henry The Toledo Blade
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