A consummate entertainer, Lonnie McFadden is a Kansas City institution.
He's best known as the trumpet-playing half of the tap-dancing McFadden Brothers, in which Lonnie and his brother, Ronnie McFadden, entertain Las Vegas-style in the vein of Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Prima.
But McFadden has just put out a record, "Live at Green Lady Lounge" that places him in an entirely different setting. His tap dancing is limited to the final selection, while much of the record emphasizes his jazz chops, such as on the jaunty rhythmic workout “In the Club,” with its lively interplay between McFadden’s trumpet and pianist Andrew Ouellette, bassist DeAndre Manning and drummer Tyree Johnson.
The love song “Our First Date,” which on McFadden's 2012 album "I Believe in Music" was the sort of slick adult pop associated with the likes of Lou Rawls and Dean Martin, appears on "Live at Green Lady Lounge" in an unadorned arrangement that's less fusty and more elegant; until McFadden posts that on YouTube, here's the earlier version:
Reviewing "Live at Green Lady Lounge" for Plastic Sax, I called the record "a winning blend of cornball shenanigans and refined artfulness" that "captures the festive atmosphere at a raucous Kansas City jazz club.” The album will officially be released in March.
Lonnie McFadden, 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 26 at The Phoenix, 302 West 8th Street Kansas City, Missouri, 64105; and 7 p.m. Saturday, January 27 at Plaza III, 4749 Pennsylvania Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri, 64112.
KCUR contributor Bill Brownlee blogs about Kansas City's jazz scene at Plastic Sax.