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"Putt Lake Toodleloo" review by Mike Jurkovic for AllAboutJazz.com
In unsettled and unsettling times, it is a relief to know that Putt Lake Toodleloo is within easy reach. Its humble stance, breezy accessibility and easy familiarity serve as a respite from the dark anxious winds that gather.
Two-time Grammy nominee and NAIRD award winner, guitarist/educator/composer/author Doug Munro, who founded the Purchase College Jazz Studies program and served as its director from 1993—2002, leads his spirited octet, the La Pompe Attack, through a swaying mix of originals and tried and true chestnuts for a mix that neither challenges nor fatigues, but simply lowers the blood pressure, takes a few deep breaths, and pours a glass of wine for the weary.
Munro, who over the years has contributed to the music of Dr. John, Michael Brecker, Steve Khan and Dr. Lonnie Smith, wears his heart (gypsy swing, soul and latin jazz) and his influence (Django Reinhardt) unabashedly on his sleeve, making Putt Lake Toodleloo an uplifting, cheerful listen. The psychedelic grunge of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" becomes a delightful gypsy dance. Wayne Shorter's unflagging "Black Nile" eases in, eases out and sets the flow for the delightful original wordplay guitar mashup interplay of "Cast Your Fate to the Wind Cried Mary," Lennon-McCartney's ragtime throwback "Honey Pie" a 12-bar send up of "Down By the Riverside, " and such bouncy, energetic originals as "Psycho Samba" and "Struttin."
And so the album (Munro's twentieth as a leader) sails along as La Pompe Attack— Albert Rivera, saxophone, Michael Goetz, bass, drummers Ian Carroll and Jon Doty and its small guitar army of Munro, Vinny Raniolo, Ernie Pugliese, Ted Gottsegen and Ben Wood—makes the music comfortable, irresistible, and, perhaps most importantly, impossible not to smile along to.