Not much is known about Apple’s Paradise aside from the fact that it is located somewhere in or around Berikon, Switzerland. One thing that can be noted with assurance is that this Paradise is home to a moderately well–endowed contemporary big band (amateur division) led by Kuno Heer. Even though this brief (37:40) example of its prowess was recorded in concert almost on the spur of the moment as a demo for prospective club and concert venues, not as a commercial endeavor, it profiles a generally competent ensemble whose various sections work quite well together and whose soloists, if less than inspiring, are earnest and respectable (on a par, we’d say, with this country’s top–grade high school or entry–level college big bands). The program burrows through largely well–plowed acreage with some Basie (“Fun Time,” “Back to Basie,” “Alright, Okay, You Win,” Neal Hefti’s “Flight of the Foo Birds”), Goodman (“A String of Pearls”) and even Parker (“Yardbird Suite,” taken at far too slow a tempo) complementing a trio of what seem to be originals — at least, new to these ears — “Coffee and Castanets,” “Switch in Time” and “Scott’s Place,” which together embody the session’s most rewarding moments. The rhythm section, enlivened by drummer Ruedi Bürge’s precise marksmanship, lends unflagging support to the band’s other components, which on the whole are as solid and dependable as a Swiss watch, although the trumpet section is on occasion a short step removed from precise. Apple’s Paradise isn’t an uncommon big band — no one would ever confuse this non–professional group with Basie or Herman — but based on the evidence presented on this impromptu concert date, maestro Heer’s ensemble shouldn’t have much trouble finding steady gigs.
Contact:Werner Mathys, Staldenweg 54, CH–8965 Berikon, Switzerland (056 / 63 38 5 38; 076 / 38 38 5 38; www.bigbandsound.ch; firstname.lastname@example.org).