At a time when musical excellence is too often measured by its decibel level, there remains a handful of composer / arrangers who prefer subtlety to bombast, gracefulness to brute strength. On the West Coast, for example, one can single out master craftsman Tom Talbert, whose eastern counterpart appears to be Canadian–born, New York–schooled Wally Dunbar, a former trumpet player in Woody Herman’s band who has worked for many years as a music preparation specialist for concerts and Broadway shows, in film and on radio, television and recordings. Like Talbert, Dunbar won’t use a cannon when a saber will suffice, and nimbly sketches lissome portraits in sound using only pen, paper and his prolific imagination. On Everything in Time,
comprised of material on which he has been working since 1992, Dunbar achieves his purpose by educing a full measure of warmth and charm from an eleven–piece ensemble that embodies a number of the New York area’s most respected studio and Jazz musicians. In the words of another world–class arranger, Don Sebesky, Dunbar “has created a set of super scores, full of interesting lines and well–balanced voicings — intelligent without being ponderous, swinging without being slight. His talent,” Sebesky adds, “is matched by that of his great band.” Six of the compositions on Everything in Time
are Dunbar’s, and each of them is superb, even though he modestly defers to Miles Davis and Tadd Dameron and opens the album with Miles’ “Nardis” and Tadd’s “On a Misty Night” before introducing four of his colorful works, starting with the rhythmically intense “Doodie!” and including “Five and Dime,” “La Joie” and “Li’l Bro’.” Dennis Anderson’s sunny bossa, “A Visit from Home,” is followed by Dunbar’s impassioned “Horn ’n’ Heartache,” Benny Golson’s even–tempered “Whisper Not,” Dunbar’s luminous “TDK Waltz” and Ellington’s memorable “In a Mellow Tone.” Not only does Dunbar’s “great band” perform seamlessly as an ensemble, it harbors a large crew of intrepid soloists including trombonists Jim Pugh and Mark Patterson, trumpeters Brian Pareschi and Bob Millikan, flugels Irv Grossman and John Eckert, alto Gerry Niewood, tenor Ken Hitchchock, baritone Roger Rosenberg, bass trombonist Nathan Durham, pianist Ken Ascher, bassist Bill Moring and drummer Ronny Zito. Hitchcock is showcased on “Doodie!,” Moring on “Whisper Not.” While Everything in Time
swings as hard as necessary, it won’t blow you away with its power. It wasn’t meant to. This is music to caress and to savor — wonderfully written, splendidly played, accurately recorded — and of course, warmly recommended.
Contact:Consolidated Artists Productions, 290 Riverside Drive, Suite 11–D, New York, NY 10025. Web site, www.jazzbeat.com
Personnel: Wally Dunbar, conductor, composer, arranger; Bob Millikan, John Eckert (1