How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
With two CDs already under his belt, Dan McMillion continues to come up with interesting arrangements, outstanding ensemble playing and solo playing that is definitely first rate. Led by the Maynard Ferguson influenced, upper stratosphere and melodic trumpet of leader McMillion, the group whips through a play list of eleven classic pop tunes and jazz compositions.
Since this is concert big band, as distinguished from music for dancing, there is a lot more room for challenging charts. That is demonstrated by "Closing Time at the Engine Room Bar", one of the premier tracks, which features solos from several band members. With more than ten minutes of exciting modern music, the cut kicks off with heavy duty sax ensemble playing with the song's composer Butch Evans' baritone sax rolling out those low notes establishing the floor for the rest of the group. There's a high-flying trumpet solo on this cut by McMillion. Also given ample time in the spotlight are Joe Porter, Jeff Jordan, Richard Drexler and Roger Delillo. A favorite of big bands, "Just Friends", is given a fresh look with a telling trombone solo by Keith Oshiro. McMillion brings out the superbone which was designed by Ferguson, for a go at "The Lamp Is Low". To find out more about the superbone, go to www.gleblanc.com/instrumentpages/ trombone/ tromhtml/TR395.html. The group goes on to show that it loses nothing when taking on big band bop as it whirls through Oliver Nelson's "Groove". McMillion ends the session with a tender solo on "What's New".
Well-constructed dynamic charts played by a well-rehearsed company of top rank players has given birth to almost an hour of solid, entertaining big band music. Visit the band's home page at http://members.aol.com/ghbigband.
Track Listing: Groove; Just Friends; Got the Spirit; Knarf; It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing; Closing Time at the Engine Room Bar; The Meaning of the Blues; A Country Boy; I Remember Clifford; The Lamp Is Low; What's New
Personnel: Dan McMilion - Leader/Trumpet/Flugelhorn/Superbone; Chad Shoopman, John Lombard, Andy Reese, Cameron Perett - Trumpet; Roger Delillo, Keith Oshiro, Chris Price, Jim Hall - Trombone; Valerie Gillespie, Jeff Hall, Jennifer Mazziotti - Alto Sax; Jeff Jordan, Kim Bock, Dave Eckman - Tenor Sax; Butch Evans - Baritone Sax; Richard Drexler - Piano; Chuck Parr - Latin Percussion/Drums; Joe Porter - Bass
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