How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Our second encounter with the San Diego Concert Jazz Band and this one’s a step upward. Still sounds as though it were taped during a rehearsal, and again there are no liner notes, but unlike the earlier album, What a Gas!, the personnel are listed — and the soloists too! Their names (and the name of each selection) are usually announced (either before or after) by co–leader and baritone saxophonist Barry Farrar who introduces all of the band members to open Disc 2. As denoted by its title, the album was recorded (last June 5) At Dizzy’s, which may or may not be where the band gigs regularly. It is divided into “the first set” (Disc 1) and “the second set” (Disc 2), with seven numbers on the first, half a dozen on the other. No playing times are given but Disc 1 clocks in at a tolerable 47:54, Disc 2 at a succinct 37:33. The band, as we noted in the earlier review, is fairly respectable, but as on What a Gas! the sound leaves much to be desired, with mediocre balance and acoustics (especially unkind to the brass) which leave small doubt that the enterprise was produced on the proverbial shoestring. Soloists are reasonably adept with Farrar, alto (and music director) Gordie Edgerton, tenor Carl Janelli and trumpeter Steve Ebner returning from What a Gas! and trumpeter David Hoffman, tenor Bob Campbell, trombonist Roy Brown, bass trombonist and co–leader Tim Hall, pianist Bob Holtz, guitarist Vince Cooper, bassist Oliver Shirley and drummer Gary Nieves adding moderately absorbing comments. As on What a Gas!, Janelli is featured on “Bluesette,” Edgerton on “Angel Eyes” (both on Disc 2). Other recognizable tunes include Sy Oliver’s “Opus One,” the ballad “A Time for Love,” Stan Kenton’s fiery “Peanut Vendor” and Dizzy Gillespie’s seductive “Tanga.” The SDCJB is another of those threadbare but dedicated ensembles out in the trenches helping to keep the torch of big–band Jazz from being smothered, and almost no one would take issue with that. On the other hand, it’s perhaps best to appraise the band in person, if that’s possible, as the second–rate sound on the albums we’ve heard can’t really serve as an accurate barometer of its prowess.