Greg Ruby & the Rhythm Runners, Syncopated Classic (Independent)

reviews-gregrubyWho was Frank D. Waldron? Lost to time, he was a Seattle jazz saxophonist, trumpet player, teacher and composer who played with Jelly Roll Morton and taught a young Quincy Jones. Guitarist Greg Ruby and jazz historian Paul de Barros stumbled upon his works and have endeavored to bring Waldron’s oeuvre back to the world. They published the biographical booklet, Seattle’s Syncopated Classic, and an accompanying album, Syncopated Classic. Greg recorded the album with his band, the Rhythm Runners, which features the cream of the crop from the New York, New Orleans and Seattle trad scenes. The ensemble is air-tight and they play these prohibition-era tunes with delightful gusto. “It’s Easy,” “With Pep,” and “That’s It” are particularly jaunty. “Climb Them Walls” is sultry and naughty with plenty of growling and moaning solos. “Valse Hawthorne” and “Valse Queen Ann” feature exquisite mandolin playing from Mike Marshall and Dennis Lichtman. Listen in for our hometown fellas Charlie Halloran and Cassidy Holden on trombone and bass, respectively. The effort and meticulousness they put into curating not only the album and its liner notes, the book and included sheet music will not be lost on jazz fans. It’s a thrill to rediscover music with such vitality.