Eddie Graf, Acclaimed Canadian big band composer, arranger and member of the original 1945 Swing Patrol
"Wonderful! What talent in everyone in the group!"
john york - western swing music society:You just have to hear WSMS member Ron Thompson's fabulous guitar arrangement of Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans on this recently released CD.... without a doubt it is some of his best work. The other nine tunes on this CD are: Lester Leaps In, Shiny Stockings, West Coast Street Beat, Air Mail Special, Topsy, Canadian Sunset, Johnson Rag, Walking My Baby Back Home, and Samba De Orfeu. Besides Thompson on guitar, the musicians are Scott Robertson - drums, Danny Parker - bass, Brent Gubbels - bass, Evan Arntzen –saxophone/clarinet and Bria Skonberg - trumpet/vocal. The liner notes state: SWING PATROL was a Canadian Auxiliary Services Orchestra during WW II. This CD is dedicated to my Dad, Morris Robertson, one of the SWING PATROL's overseas truck drivers. Growing up I listened to Dad's stories of these fabulous musicians. He taught me to love the Swing Era. This CD includes a variety of Trio, Quartet and Quintet performances. Enjoy! Let's keep Swing alive for generations to come, Scott. If you are into swing jazz (and, of course western swing - except for a couple of numbers, these tunes have all been recorded by western swing bands), you’re sure to enjoy this CD. It's an excellent example of what can happen when a group of fine musicians get together and really swing out! I highly recommend this album. The Scott Robertson Trio's first CD featured Scott Robertson on drums, Ron Thompson on guitar, and Danny Parker on bass. Both CD’s are a must for your library.
Dennis Mersmann MuzikReviews.com:The title of Swing Patrol is more than just a nod to Scott Robertson’s father and the musicians he worked with during World War II. While scepticism might be the first reaction to an album proclaiming to swing, the album name is no misnomer. Swing Patrol is a collection of covers arranged by Robertson and his guitar player, Ron Thompson, with the exception of “West Coast Street Beat” which was written by Robertson and Thompson. The songs are performed in trios, quartets or quintets with Brent Gubbels, Evan Arntzen, Bria Skonberg and Danny Parker filling out the permutations. Every song does in fact swing. That’s enough jive talk. Swing Patrol is an exceptional album. It isn’t straight swing music necessarily. There is a good dose of Dixieland mixed in as well. There is not one song here that isn’t worth listening to, and at a brisk 36 minutes you might as well listen twice. From the gentle and drifting guitar on “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans” to Skonberg’s wonderful singing and even better trumpet playing on “Johnson Rag,” Swing Patrol never falters. Each track deserves to be listened to once for every musician playing to fully appreciate what each is doing. The Robertson and Thompson original, “West Coast Street Beat,” features strong Dixieland influence and is also one of the better songs (but as previously mentioned all ten tracks are phenomenal). Another highlight, “Shiny Stockings,” allows Thompson’s guitar playing to carry the listener along like a warm breeze. Swing Patrol as a whole has the feeling of a warm-weather album and with spring right around the corner I plan on keeping it in high rotation. If you are not a person who thinks of music as having the potential to be seasonal, hopefully, listening to the Beach Boys in the dead of winter has served you well. But what’s wrong with Swing Patrol? What are its drawbacks? Picking a favorite song isn’t easy. Really there aren’t any flaws to speak of. Even the album art is pretty spiffy. If you like jazz or swing, this album won’t disappoint. Unless of course the only jazz or swing you enjoy is big band style, but that level of specificity seems unlikely. Even people who aren’t fans of jazz would be hard pressed to not enjoy a group of high quality musicians playing together. Even though you may not drool over it like I seem to be with this review, you’ll be glad you gave it a spin.
Dennis Mersmann MuzikReviews.com staff writer February 13, 2009 MuzikReviews.com
Jeff Parker - Swingmusic.net:I was fairly skeptical when I saw the the name of the group was the Swing Patrol. Been my experience that bands or CDs with "swing" in the title... usually don't. Unfounded and mere contempt prior to investigation. I really, really enjoy this swinging small outfit. I seriously left the CD in the player of my truck for 2 days and yes it was on. In the spirit of maybe a Barney Kessel 50s small group or a 1945 Artie Shaw Grammercy Five or a Goodman Sextet with Charlie Christian; the group even covers a couple of Goodman Sextet tunes on the CD. The guitar work is first rate and the work with both brushes and sticks by leader Scott Robertson is really superb. Augmented at times by sax and/or trumpet and check out the cover of Cozy Cole's 60s recording of Topsy. Exceptional work!
Posted on Swingmusic.net –(California) by jazzzjester aka Jeff Parker Sat January 10 2009 04:46 AM
Bobby Hales - Upbeat:Drummer, producer Scott Robertson, inspired by his father’s stories of a WW 2 Auxiliary Services Orchestra called “Swing PATROL,” has come up with a swinging CD called “Swing PATROL,” that is dedicated to his dad, Morris. And swing it does. The first track “Lester Leaps” an old Lester Young standard “cooks” right from the beginning and features a quintet made up of drummer Scott, guitarist Ron Thompson, bassist Danny Parker, who plays on 5 of the tracks, and two of our brightest and talented young jazz musicians in the persons of trumpeter/ vocalist Bria Skonberg and tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Evan Arntzen. I am impressed by Bria’s and Evan’s interpretation and there swing concepts. For performers still in their 20’s, their maturity in this idiom is amazing. The CD is full of great playing. Bassist Brent Gubbels, who plays on 5 of the tracks, joins Scott and Ron on a great version of “Shiny Stockings” Ron’s soloing and chordal concept gets better every time I hear him. His solo interpretation on “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans” is equally well performed. A thank you to Scott for reminding me how good brushes sound on ballads. Ron and Scott play consistently great throughout all 10 tracks. An original by Scott and Ron called “West Coast Street Beat” shows off some impressive snare drum work by Scott. Evan plays a great tenor solo followed by an impressive plunger trumpet solo by Bria. Evan gets to show off his considerable chops on clarinet on the quintet version of “Air Mail Special| and Bria plays another great trumpet solo. The concept is right on. On a trio version of an old jazz standard called “Topsy” Scott plays a Gene Krupa style solo and does a “question and answer bit” with Ron that is just delightful. Evans clarinet solo on “Canadian Sunset” was just “too much.” “Johnson Rag” serves up as a showpiece for the multi-talented Bria who gives a great vocal interpretation of this old standard. The band does a great Dixieland jam in the middle and returns to Bria’s vocal to take out this great version to a logical ending Congratulations to bassist Brent Gubbels on his solo work on that old Johnny Rae standard “Walking My Baby Back Home.” What a good idea. The trio version of “Samba De Orfeo” shows off more of Ron’s considerable jazz chops. Scott plays some impressive drum fills that sets Ron up for another flawless performance. There is not a bad track on the whole CD and if you are a swing fan it is definitely a CD for your collection. Contact Scott at www.scottondrums.com or email email@example.com to purchase. Until then...It’s straight ahead.
BOB HALES President (VMA local 145) From Upbeat Magazine Winter 2008