How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Miles Osland, an intrepid and versatile woodwind specialist who can stay in the pocket but prefers to scramble, unveils a number of facets of his capacious personality on My Old Kentucky Home, from bebop, blues and ballads to Caribbean, Latin, funk, boogie and beyond. Actually, nothing here is as “beyond” as Osland has been on other occasions. Instead, the Little Big Band abides relatively close to home with sunny interpretations of compositions by Cannonball Adderley (“Things Are Getting Better“), Gordon Goodwin (“A Few Good Men,” “Meet Me at the Carnival”), Tom Kubis (“5 Alarm Fire,” “Blues for a Purpose”), Roger Neumann (“Morning Light”), Bill Armstrong (“Lullabye of Bigfoot”) and others (including Stephen Foster whose well–known paean to Kentucky was arranged by W. Roy Mitchell and superbly adapted for the band by trombonist David Henderson). Osland is heard most frequently on alto (but contributes an admirable flute solo on the spirited “Carnival,” whose Caribbean rhythms are punctuated by Gould’s steel drum). The alto solos are quite respectable (especially on “Things Are Getting Better” and Dan Higgins’ shuffle, “Off to Buffalo”), as are those by Henderson, trumpeters Cook and Thompson, tenor Richardson, pianist McCutcheon, baritone Lisa Osland and guest artist DiMartino (on “My Old Kentucky Home” and Beto Skiles’ “Sesos de Huesos”). Both compositions by Kubis are exceptional, as is Neumann’s lovely ballad, “Morning Light,” and the charts are uniformly commendable. A laudable session by a self–reliant ensemble that lets no blue grass grow under its feet.
Track listing: My Old Kentucky Home; Things Are Getting Better; A Few Good Men; Meet Me at the Carnival; Sesos de Huesos; Off to Buffalo; Morning Light; 5 Alarm Fire; Lullabye of Bigfoot; Miami Wise; Blues for a Purpose (55:47).
Miles Osland, soprano, alto saxes, flute, piccolo; Lisa Osland, baritone sax, bass clarinet, flute; John Richardson, tenor sax; Rick Cook, trumpet; Bob Thompson, trumpet, flugelhorn; David Henderson, trombone; Keith McCutcheon, piano; Larry Nelson, bass; Scott Kretzer, drums; Will Gilliam, Michael Gould, percussion. Guest artists: Jerry Steinholtz, percussion; Vince DiMartino, lead trumpet (1, 2, 5, 8, 9).