I finally got my hands on the long-awaited album from Dave Stuckey and the Hot House Gang, released on September 1st 2015! It’s called “How’m I Doin’?!” which sounds like something Dave would actually ask in the middle of a packed gig with sincere humility. The answer here is “great!”
In case you are not familiar with them, Dave Stuckey and his band play up-tempo danceable tunes styled after Swing/jazz songs of the 30’s and 40’s. They are currently one of the most popular acts in the Southern California Swing dance scene, with a dedicated following of dancers that show up wherever they play. They placed third in SwingDance.LA 2013 Swing dance band poll with not so much as a website or Facebook page for marketing. I reckon they’d place at least one space higher if I did the poll today.
The CD sounds like it was recorded in a live room as opposed to a sterile recording studio. Kudos to this decision, as it captures the fun spirit of this band. Listening to this album brought back great memories of the many times I’ve seen them play live.
I was impressed that many of the tunes on the CD were written by Dave himself, and if you’ve been following their live gigs, you’ve probably heard some of them already. They have the perfect tempos for dancing moderate-speed Lindy all the way up to Balboa, but are also great to just listen to.
You can listen to samples of each track here.
The “Hot House Gang” is a “who’s who” of the finest musicians in Southern California:
- Corey Gemme on coronet, trombone, clarinet
- Dan Barrett on trombone and trumpet
- Nate Ketner and Larry Wright on sax and clarinet
- Carl Sonny Leyland and Josh Petrojvic on piano
- Wally Hersom on bass
- Josh Collazo on drums
- And of course, Dave Stuckey on rhythm guitar and vocals
Let me talk about the packaging of the CD for a minute. First, I love the cover art, which perfectly captures the live spirit of the music, with the band playing under the stars to a packed dance floor below on a downtown high-rise (hmmm, inspired by Lindy Loft perhaps?)
I also love the fact that the package is a trifold, with lyrics to Dave’s original songs in the middle. Really nice!
If you are a Swing dancer, instructor, or DJ, then “How’m I Doin’?!” definitely belongs in your collection, especially if you want to conjure up great memories of dancing to Dave Stuckey and the Hot House Gang at your favorite LA/OC Swing dance venue. This album is the next best thing to having them play in your living room! – Brian