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Stan Rubin Swing Band

- Jazz and Cabaret Performance Reviews

Stan Rubin Swing Band
(Stan Rubin Website)
Jimmy Dorsey Tribute
(Jimmy Dorsey Bio)
Featuring: Dan Levinson
(Levinson Website)

At Birdland
315 West 44th Street, NYC
Gianni Valenti, Owner
Andy Kaufman, Business Manager
Tarik Osman, Manager
See Other Birdland Reviews 1

Stan Rubin, Bandleader, Raconteur
Dan Levinson, Clarinet and Saxophone

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 23, 2004

Tonight’s tribute to Jimmy Dorsey and his Big Band Swing contemporaries began with a sensational Stomp. Alto sax combined with trumpet to bring the fans to an upbeat mood. I’m Just Wild about Harry, with Bob Curtis taking a romantic solo on tenor sax, followed by Herb Gardner on pulsating piano, included brass counter-rhythms and a fast saxophone riff. Dan Levinson, renowned Swing saxophonist and clarinetist, was Co-Host of this event with Stan Rubin, Bandleader.

Levinson shared many anecdotes about Jimmy and his brother, Tommy, including those about Jimmy’s trip to England and various recording collaborations. The band played Tiger Rag, recorded in 1930, and Levinson filled Birdland with buoyant brilliance on both clarinet and saxophone. The following piece, in Savoy Swing style, showcased saxophone passages in thrilling, sensational style. Oodles of Noodles merged slower and rapid rhythms. This song, which was arranged for Jimmy Dorsey’s theme song, was led by a smooth saxophone, as if to allow the dancers to relax a bit between electrically charged passages. There was no dancing here, but one could easily imagine the Dorsey Band onstage in black tie with 30’s era Swing Dancers kicking up their legs. In fact, the final passage was so fast that only professional or seasoned dancers could have kept this pace.

American Tango rhythms followed with Molly and David on vocals, and her sound could have emerged from Dorsey’s original records. Parade of the Milk Bottle Caps, performed with trombones and lots of brass spilled into Green Eyes, belted out by David, and drums and lyrics catapulted into the final slam on the drum. Tangerine featured piano and trombones. A salute to Tommy Dorsey’s Hawaiian War Chant opened with sax and percussion, with trombones and trumpets mixing for perfect Swing. This was a popular and playful tune. Song of India brought out the best in percussive power, while Jeff Bush led the muted trombones in playful flashes that mixed with the saxophones for exotic and undulating sound. The trombones gave way to titanic trumpets, and Birdland was swinging.

Opus #1 was quite danceable, with trombones and clarinet making way for a final trumpet flourish. Marie, with four musicians standing, trumpets on fire, was enhanced by the bass and Dan Levinson’s clarinet. 1:00 Jump featured Herb Gardner on piano in ecstatic energy. I look forward to the next Stan Rubin Swing Band event. Dan Levinson is a virtuosic raconteur and especially charismatic on clarinet. Check the Birdland Website for future Swing Band events.

Stan Rubin Leads his Swing Band

Dan Levinson on Clarinet

Stan Rubin Swing Band

Stan Rubin Swing Band

Stan Rubin Swing Band

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at