Baileo Big Band: Jumbo Swing Night

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Baileo Big Band and Guests
Jumbo Swing Night

I recently asked a pen-pal in the Netherlands, trombonist Rene Laanen, about the big-band scene there. "We have a pretty good new band,"? he said. "It's called the Baileo Big Band."? Was he ever right! I've now had the pleasure of hearing and seeing the eighteen-piece Baileo ensemble on a new DVD, and it is much better than pretty good — it's about as good as any band you'd care to name, so good that I didn't even mind that eleven of the twelve selections on Swing Night are vocals, divided among guest artists Madeline Bell, Laura Fygi and Joke Bruijs.

Of course, if you're going to back singers, you may as well do so for a trio as lovely and talented as this. Even though I'm not a big fan of vocalists, the fifty-five minute concert almost flew by, and I found myself thoroughly captivated by Bell, Fygi and Bruijs, none of whom I'd seen or heard before. I was equally blown away by the band, which plays marvelously, and whose soloists are consistently impressive. Bell, the bluesiest of the three singers, follows the lone instrumental, "Boogaloo for You Too,"? which opens the program, with the first of her three numbers, "Soulmates,"? which she co-wrote. Fygi is up next with "Formidable,"? sung in English and French, followed by the husky-voiced Bruijs belting Cole Porter's "It's All Right with Me."? Fygi returns to sing Neal Hefti / Bobby Troup's "Girl Talk,"? followed by Bell (Georgie Fame's "Anthem for a Band"?), Bruijs (Gershwin's "The Man I Love"?), Fygi ("Almost Like Being in Love"?), Bruijs again ("Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me"?), Bell ("Before You Open Your Mouth"?) and the grand finale, Lennon / McCartney's "With a Little Help from My Friends,"? sung by all three.

Most numbers allow ample blowing space, much of which is assigned to pianist Rob van Kreeveld, guitarist Martien Oster, tenor saxophonists Ferdinand Povel and Simon Rigter, trumpeter Ruud Breuls and trombonist Bert Boeren. Alto saxophonist Timeke Postma, the band's only female member, solos with Breuls, Boeren, Rigter and Oster on "Before You Open Your Mouth,"? bassist Edwin Corzilius with Kreeveld and Povel on "Almost Like Being in Love."? Rene Laanen, who tipped me off about the band, is in the 'bone section with Boeren, Bert Pfeiffer and Jan Oosting. The rhythm section, anchored by drummer Frits Landesbergen (who reminds me of Jeff Hamilton) is outstanding.

The concert was taped November 30, '03, during the tenth annual Jumbo Festatie. Everyone was having a great time entertaining the audience, and it shows. So much fun I might have been tempted to part with the price of a ticket (but I'm more than happy to have the concert on DVD, with excellent sound and decent picture quality). Copies may be hard to come by, but those who are interested might try .

Track listing: Boogaloo to You Too; Soulmates; Formidable; It's All Right with Me; Girl Talk; Anthem for a Band; The Man I Love; Almost Like Being in Love; Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me; Before You Open Your Mouth; With a Little Help from My Friends.

Personnel: Madeline Bell, Laura Fygi, Joke Bruijs, vocals, with the Baileo Big Band — Ruud Breuls, Jelle Schouten, Jan Hollander, Jan van der Scheer, trumpet; Timeke Postma, Jan Smit, Ferdinand Povel, Simon Rigter, Rick van de Berg, reeds; Bert Boeren, Rene Laanen, Bert Pfeiffer, Jan Oosting, trombone; Rob van Kreeveld, piano; Martien Oster, guitar; Edwin Corzilius, bass; Frits Landesbergen, drums; Jeroen de Rijk, percussion.

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