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Temple University Jazz Band: Mean What You Say (2003)

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Under the direction of Terrell Stafford, the Temple University Jazz Band has flourished. Their cohesive sound maintains a perfect balance and the orchestration allows each of the key sections to revel in their unique voices. Deep-throated trombones and baritone saxophone provide the kind of foundation that a tango dancer lives for. Shining trumpets and alto saxophones float melodies and powerful punctuation across the top of the studio. The harmonic mixture of guitar, piano and saxophones casually colors specific phrases with bright hues. Well executed and balanced evenly across its 18-piece instrumentation, the Temple University Jazz Band provides an award-winning performance.

Kudos go to the band’s outstanding soloists, too, who add individual reflections with alacrity and heart. Bassist Rory Hanes grabs the middle section of “Dolphin Dance” and holds it up for all to see. His quiet lyricism bonds sweetly with the song’s powerful front and back ends. Baritone saxophonist Andrew Kammerle swings fluidly on “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” as if he were introducing the song to the world for the very first time. It’s refreshing. Tim Thompson and Ralph DiSylvestro provide traditional trumpet solos on “Brotherhood of Man,” with wah-wah and half-valve expressions galore. Their two-step, New Orleans conversation puts a big spark into the program.

Jon Faddis guarantees a good time when he sits in for “The Fadd,” a funk-driven burner that would turn Sylvester Stallone around in his role of Rocky and send him up the stairs for another ten miles of blood, sweat and tears. Faddis continues to exhibit the kind of screech that he inherited from Dizzy and takes it to the horizon. With an “oom-chucka, oom-chucka-oom,” the trumpeter distills a personal form of communication from his horn that grabs hold of even the toughest customers. What comes out of his trumpet could melt candles.

Conrad Herwig’s “Quasi Modal” gives the band a complex piece of harmony to chew up, and he joins them on trombone to push the up-tempo burner ahead at full throttle. Elsewhere, Dick Oatts contributes “Gumbo G,” on which he provides the alto saxophone feature. As you’d expect from his title, the piece reflects New Orleans with a light, airy, street dance kind of happy mood. Tenor saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr. interprets the slow, burning “Basie In Mind,” tenderly and with the personal attention that you’d expect. While his “Lester Young shyness” takes a few steps back behind the band’s blaring trumpets at times, Warfield manages to capture accurately the Count Basie swing persona and Lester Young’s unique way with a horn. The Temple University Jazz Band and its honored guests have put together a highly recommended program that’s sure to please.

Track Listing: Mean What You Say; Not a Love Song; Gumbo G; Dolphin Dance; The Fadd; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Basie in Mind; Brotherhood of Man; Quasi Modal; Mueva Los Huesos (Move them Bones).

Personnel: Temple University Jazz Band: Terrell Stafford- leader; Ralph DiSylvestro, Tim Thompson, David Laich, Adam Hershberger, Steven Gill- trumpet; Paul Hazen, Dan Friel- alto saxophone; Brian Ewing, Wally Bechtold- tenor saxophone; Andrew Kammerle- baritone saxophone; Josh Fickes, Larry Toft, Michael Jordan, Hally Varhol- trombone; Brad Mills- guitar; Yoichi Uzeki- piano; Rory Hanes- bass; Chris Beck- drums; Guests: Jon Faddis- trumpet; Conrad Herwig- trombone; Dick Oatts- alto saxophone; Tim Warfield, Jr.- tenor saxophone; Sandy Perez- percussion.

Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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