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July 22, 2024

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Big Time Operator
High Altitude Swing (Big Time Operator Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Straight from San Diego, Big Time Operator covers swing classics from the past, updating them with their style of jump, jive, and swing. Reaching back to the past, they bring a contemporary feel to everything they play. They even do an original "theme" song.

They start off the CD with their original song, "Big Time Operator." The horns are a masterpiece. Arranged to perfection, they warm up even the coldest of bodies. Soon the vocals enter, and everything begins to mellow out. The vocals do a great job of swinging your soul. They're a nice mix of mellow, slightly deep, and very happy. You can tell the vocalist is having a great time, which really rubs off onto the listener, helping you forget any of your worries, if only for a bit. The drums are soft and fluffy, keeping the band on track, and helping to create a very laid back pace. "Leap Frog", a Joe Garland cover tune, brings us an instrumental tune that will get you up an movin'. The horns are tight and bright, carrying the song through a mystical journey of adventure, intrigue, and good times. They pull it off to perfection, even Joe Garland himself would be blown away. "Minnie The Moocher" is a slow dance waiting to happen. The horns are always like a breeze of fresh air, slow and intricate, they keep the music on its toes. "Bugle Call Rag" is an another instrumental. This song is on fire, as the horns are hotter than the sun. Setting the pace for a fiery groove, these guys turn an ordinary day into a party. "Lunceford Special" is another fiery instrumental. These guys prove they can swing with vocals, and do the instrumentals just as well. Nothing stops these guys, as they take you through an experience you'll never forget. The classic Duke Ellington song, "It Don't Mean A Thing," is brought to life by Big Time Operator. The vocals are crisp and clear, never letting down their guard. The horns, always the life of the party, shine through like the champions they are. As they blow out the notes, passion flies through the room. An intense feeling takes over your body, and you won't ever look back. You'll quickly add that much more of a punch to your swing, because, after all, "it doesn't mean a thing, unless its got that swing!" Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing" closes out the CD. You may recognize the opening melody from Royal Crown Revue's "Barflies on the Beach," which was based on this same song. If you thought Royal Crown Revue's varied version of the song was good, you need to hear these guys interpretation of the song. The horn lines are just as intense, and the music packs a punch that will definitely get you moving. Over nine minutes of music on this one track alone. But wait...Keep spinning the disc, and hear them get really nostalgic and record a track as they would have in the olden days. Scratchy recording and all.

When I first popped this CD in, I wasn't expecting much. From experience, cover bands aren't known for their power, drive, and intense re-interpretations of classics. But these guys sure fooled me! From the opening horn arrangements, to the crystal clear, soothing vocals, these guys drove me wild. What's more was the guitar, drums, and bass played in perfect unison together, giving the sound that much more of a SWING. Check these guys out, you won't be disappointed. I can only hope they'll write more originals like their theme song, which was one of my favorite tracks on the CD. A definite A+.

You can order this CD from Hepcat Records at 1-800-404-4117 in the US, or (714) 532-2095 from outside the US. You can also e-mail [email protected] or visit their website at:

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