Published since 1997
A former newspaper writer / editor who has been writing about jazz for more than twenty years.
As in years past the assignment isn’t an easy one, consisting of eight formidable original charts that include a touchstone by Slater (“This”) and two by members of the ensemble (pianist Neil Shah’s “Bouncin’,” baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington’s “Askew”). Joel Fountain wrote “Ouch!,” Rodrigo Villenueva “Keep Tryin’,” David Lown “Shoshin,” Stephen Smith “Last Expedition” and “Trepidation.” The band approaches each of them with comprehension and care, lending due consideration to color, dynamics, pacing and intonation. Brass and reeds are in lock-step while the rhythm section, enlivened by drummer Stockton Helbing and garnished by Shah, provides unremitting support throughout.
With everything else falling so cleanly into place, soloists have a wide comfort zone in which to operate and take full advantage, with provocative comments by Shah, Helbing and trombonist David Winslow on “Ouch!,” tenor Oscar Garza and trumpeter Matt Politano on “This,” Shah and flugel Kavan Manson on “Bouncin’,” guitarist Kevin Patton and soprano Tyler Summers on “Tryin’,” Manson, Helbing and Summers (alto) on “Expedition,” Patton and Garza on “Shoshin,” Shah and tenor David Fague on “Trepidation,” Lington and alto Drew Pitcher on “Askew.”
From performance to sound quality, everything is blue-chip. This is another in a long line of impressive albums by UNT’s superlative One O’Clock Lab Band.
Contact: North Texas Jazz, P.O. Box 305040, Denton, TX 76203.
Track Listing: Ouch!; This; Bouncin
Personnel: Neil Slater, director; Tyler Summers, Drew Pitcher, Oscar Garza, David Fague, Aaron Lington, reeds; Dave Anderson, Matt Hitti, Zach Heffley, Matt Politano, Kavan Manson, trumpet; Zac Giffel, David Winslow, Jeff Valentine, trombone; Grant Dawson, Dan West, bass trombone; Neil Shah, piano; Kevin Patton, guitar; Adam Thomas, bass; Stockton Helbing, drums.
Record Label: North Texas Jazz
Style: Big Band
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