“Perhaps the most unusual musical group in Boston.” -Brett Milano: B.U. Today
"Fabulous...timeless and original, a combo you don’t see every day" – Nancy Sheehan: Worcester Telegram
“Musical Acrobats” – Jon Garelick: Boston Phoenix
"Music Maximus...intimately familiar with the rhythms of the ring" – Katie Johnston Chase: Boston Globe
This release, the fourth from Cirkestra in as many years, is a rare circus music gem. Band leader/composer/accordionist Peter Bufano has brought some of the best circus musicians together in this recording.
The players you hear on Swing are tapped from Bufano's travels across the country with such shows as Ringling Brother's Barnum and Bailey, Bindlestiff Cirkus, Circus Smirkus, and The Big Apple Circus.
The songs are ones Bufano was commissioned to write for Circus Smirkus' 2007 Big Top Tour. The only exceptions are two traditional songs; Bubamara and Hora Bucharest. There is an obvious 1930-1940s era swing influence in much of the material. This was in line with the theme of this particular production. What is interesting is how seamlessly he weaves the sound of jazz with the sound of the circus.
Bufano uses traditional big band instrumentation such as trumpets, trombones, drums, piano and upright bass as a backdrop for Cirkestra's signature Fiddle/Accordion/Saxophone sound. Another new element to listen for in this release is percussionist Mike Dobson's generous use of vibraphone and xylophone.
If you like a nostalgic, big band sound you'll appreciate the way the group honors the masters of the era. Cirkestra fans will also get a dose of the quirky variety of styles that this band is known for.
There is, it seems, a bottomless bag of tricks that fiddler Käthe Louise Hostetter and saxophone man Sam Lett dip into to decorate Bufano's melodies. The ensemble performs with remarkable dexterity, leaping from sweet lyrical passages in one moment to angular, whimsical ones in the next. It is in itself a "fourth ring" filled with dazzling artistry for the ears.