By Charleston Hepston
Steve Clarke & The Working Stiffs Metropolitan
SQ Issue: Spring 2006, Volume 16, Issue 2
The Band: Steve Clarke tenor, soprano & baritone sax, vocals; Travis Merchant guitar, vocals; Katie Gearty vocals; Scott Hornick upright bass; Brian Zemniak piano; Eric Swenson drums; Matt Darling trombone, vocals; Steven Kung trumpet, vocals
The Working Stiffs swing hard and hot, jammin and jivin their way right into your dancing shoes. Their jump blues and jazz bill, with some rockabilly thrown in for good measure, complimented by Steves golden saxophone, is a favorite with the dancers. --- Terry Gardner from the Working Stiffs website.
Its about time. Metroplitan is a perfect representation of what this band is all about. Not about to be pigeon-holed into one style, these guys just plain swing! Whether its jump, jazz or some sassy blues, you are going to get your moneys worth!
Youll recognize lots of the tunes they cover, like Aint Nobody Here but Us Chickens and Five Guys Named Moe to Swing Brother Swing and Cheek to Cheek. There are plenty of other gems like my favorite song by Gearty, Women be Wise.
The band is tight and swingin. Clarke, winner of several Horn of the year awards from the MN Music Academy, never disappoints and his showmanship comes through on this live recording as if you were right there dancing live. But the musicianship has a deep roster with this band. Merchants guitar solos are spot on, whether jumpin or complimenting the golden voice of Gearty. Not to be left out are the horns of Steven Kung and Matt Darling. These guys pack a punch and give the band a full sound. The backbeat rhythm is in the capable hands of of drummer Swenson and Hornick on bass.
Katie Gearty. Wow! Her singing ranges from sultry on Women be Wise to upbeat and bright on Swing Brother Swing and Cheek to Cheek. Her voice is beautiful and and has a wide range. She is very adept at her phrasing as well. Shes able to capture the emotion of each song and deliver it to you like shes singing to you personally.
Clarke and Merchant also handle singing duties, adding to the dimension of the band. With three good singers, a great horn section and a steady rhythm section, youre gonna find this CD in your player more than not.
Beats per minute. The Stiffs are a workin band. They have dancers in mind with their musical choices and this CD caters to the dancer. Not to say non-dancing music lovers should shy away. Anybody can tap their toes and youre gonna do a lot of that with this CD. Hopefully, this band will get some national recognition with their debut CD. The professionalism, the fun, the energy, and the passion they put into their music should be loved by all, not just folks on the local scene.
Bottom Line: To buy or not to buy .. BUY! Heres how: contact The Working Stiffs at their website, www.workingstiffs.org