A duet backed by an adept rhythm section makes the past
the present, and with vigor. Clarinetist Felix Peikli and vibist Joe
Doubleday present It’s Showtime! (2016).
accompanied by Rossano Sportiello, piano; Russell Hall, acoustic bass; and
Ralph Peterson Jr., drums. Vocalist Charles Turner appears on the ballad,
“La vie en Rose.”
“After You’ve Gone” opens the set. It’s a sunny,
delightful take on the Turner Layton composition. Peikli leads the melody,
with Doubleday offering a subtle undertone. Sportiello gets to stretch out
a bit during one middle break. Then after the clarinet, the vibraphone
takes a turn, rolling through an impressive, rapid fire interlude. Peikli
and Doubleday then lead a sequence of unison riffs, accented with solos by
Hall and Peterson. The musicians pack a lot into a piece that’s just short
of five minutes running time.
The ensemble takes a placid,
slowed-down approach to begin “Pure Imagination,” a piece featured in
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The arrangement shifts gears
multiple times, upping the tempo on occasion to transition into a
charming, couples dancing tune.
The Showtime Band, as the ensemble
is called, covers mostly selections from the American culture of the
1930s. All arrangements are by the leaders.
While Peikli and
Doubleday are the front men, the other musicians leave their marks
throughout, whether in solos or performing solidly in the background.
Showtime consists of 10 songs and runs a total of about 40
minutes. That may seem short by today’s standards, but it’s what these
brilliant musicians do in those 40 minutes that make the album special.