Amazon.com Widgets

The Walt Boenig Big Band: A Lot of Us (2003)

By Published: | 5,295 views
The Walt Boenig Big Band: A Lot of Us No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Trombonist Walt Boenig, who paid his dues on the road with the Glenn Miller, Harry James and Jimmy Dorsey bands, among others, has shaped his own Las Vegas-based ensemble in their swing-era image while bringing them up to date with sparkling new arrangements by Tommy Check, Walt Stuart, Bobby Harrison and Joe Lano.

A Lot of Us, four years in the making, is the band’s second album; the first was A Little of You. It’s a two-disc set with eleven tracks on Disc 1, seven on Disc 2 including two — “Summertime,” drummer Check’s “Lady J” — that are almost eleven minutes long. The level of musicianship is high throughout, and the band swings easily through a program of ten long-lived standards, half a dozen ear-catching originals by Check and one each by Stuart (“After Hours”) and the late Harrison Hickey (“Mambino”).

There are a number of engaging solos, especially by guitarist Lano (“Always,” “Summertime,” Check’s “A Twist of Lemon,” “Have Guitar, Will Travel” and “Lady J”). Tenors Jay Rasmussen and Tony Osiecki skirmish toe-to-toe on Harrison’s lively arrangement of Henry Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses,” and Osiecki is the main man on “Unforgettable.” Others given elbow room include altos Dennis Wilson and Fred Haller, trombonists Bobby Scann and Dick McGee, trumpeter Rocky Lombardo and pianist Vincent Falcone. Boenig doesn’t “solo” as such, but plays the melody on ballads (“Invitation,” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “Unforgettable,” “Nevertheless”) while bass trombonist Sonny Hernandez does the same on Check’s high-stepping “Where’s Mr. McFarland.” There’s one vocal, and it’s a good one, by Jo Belle on the Ellington chesnut ”It Don’t Mean a Thing.”

Check’s funky version of George Gershwin’s “Summertime,” which opens Disc 2, blends screaming brass with greasy solos by Lano, Rasmussen and bassist Brace Phillips, and Lano displays his nimble chops on Check’s fast-moving “Have Guitar.” Other highlights include Stuart’s bluesy “After Hours” (solos by Falcone, Rasmussen, Lombardo, McGee, baritone Rod Adam), Check’s graceful “Lady J” (Lano, Lombardo, Scann) and Hickey’s sunny “Mambino,” ably driven by drummer Bobby Harrison and percussionist Howard Agster and featuring perky solos by Osiecki and pianist Ronnie Simone.

A Lot of Us encompasses nearly two hours of invigorating big-band Jazz / dance music, lovingly dedicated to the memory of composer / arranger Hickey and saxophonist Ron Helvie who played on the sessions recorded in April / May 1998. While the album’s resonant “ballroom” sound takes some getting used to, that’s a minor distraction and one that is quickly passed over in the face of so much entertaining music.

Contact: Dynamic Musical Productions, P.O. Box 12961, Las Vegas, NV 89112-0961. Phone 702-456-2161; e-mail intoon@lvcm.com .

Track Listing: Disc 1 -- Always; On a Clear Day; Invitation; Days of Wine and Roses; A Twist of Lemon; Sandrine; It Don

Personnel: All tracks -- Walt Boenig, leader, trombone. Tracks 1, 4, 5-7 -- Fred Haller, Dennis Wilson, Jay Rasmussen, Tony Osiecki, Ron Adam, reeds; Tom Snelson, Tony Scodwell, Walt Blanton, Rocky Lombardo, trumpet; Sam Cernuto, Dick McGee, Bobby Scann, Sonny Hernandez, trombone; Vincent Falcone, piano; Joe Lano, guitar; Brace Phillips, bass; Tommy Check, drums; Jo Belle (7), vocal. Tracks 2, 3, 8, 10, 13, 14, 17 -- Bob Chmel, drums, replaces Check. Tracks 9, 11, 15, 16 -- Haller, Osiecki, Adam, Jack Montrose, Ron Helvie, reeds; Snelson, Lombardo, Rocky Winslow, Kenneth Wright, trumpet; McGee, Scann, Hernandez, Barry Ross, trombone; Ronnie Simone, piano; Lano, guitar; Phillips, bass; Bobby Harrison, drums, percussion; Howard Agster, percussion. Track 12 -- Haller, Rasmussen, Osiecki, Adam, Sam Pisciotta, reeds; Snelson, Scodwell, Lombardo, Tom DeLibero, trumpet; Cernuto, McGee, Scann, Hernandez, trombone; Falcone, piano; Lano, guitar; Phillips, bass; Check, drums. Track 18 -- Haller Osiecki, Montrose, Helvie, Adam, reeds; Snelson, Wright, Winslow, Lombardo, trumpet; McGee, Ross, Hernandez, Ron Textor, trombone; Simone, piano; Lano, guitar; Phillips, bass; Check, drums.

Record Label: DYN

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.