The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra, “The 408 Special,” from Ain’t It Grand?
The New York City hot jazz scene has witnessed a popularity surge in recent years, and the Glenn Crytzer Orchestra — led by its chic, classically trained, guitar-playing frontman — is a major reason why. The 17-piece ensemble replicates the spirit and sound of vintage American jazz with startling fidelity, and their performances, — whether in one of New York’s numerous hot jazz clubs or on the soundtrack to television’s Agent Carter — are carried out with unrivaled passion and attention to detail. For unfamiliar audiences, Ain’t It Grand?, their debut album, serves as the perfect introduction to Crytzer’s curatorial prowess and compositional creativity.
The double-length disc is a collection of tunes by legends such as Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Jimmie Lunceford and Count Basie, all of which are handled with the deference and respect they deserve. But the album also features several originals that pay homage to their influences via combination and collage. “The 408 Special,” for example, has the chugging locomotive energy of a Glenn Miller swinger, but mixes in plenty of Chick Webb-style horn chatter and Goodman-esque derring-do. Despite the numerous touchstones, however, it’s Crytzer’s personality that shines brightest.