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Chris Walden Big Band: No Bounds (2006)

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Chris Walden Big Band: No Bounds How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Chris Walden has been on a heck of a roll lately, with two Grammy nods for last year's Home of My Heart, one of the finest big band efforts of the year. He also in did the orchestrations for the acclaimed Michael Bolton set Bolton Swings Sinatra.

Home of My Heart deserved all the accolades that came its way; No Bounds is an even stronger disc. Walden is a genius at freshening up the big band genre with sparkling arrangements, whether in the more traditional style or using a lusher approach by adding strings on selected cuts.

The set opens with "Winter Games," a bright, zinging arrangement of the David Foster tune that Walden released as a single in time for the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. Three Disney movie tunes—Walden has scored more than thirty movies himself—are included: "When You Wish Upon a Star" (swinging all the way to that star), "Someday My Prince Will Come" and the set's closer, "It's a Small World After All."

In between, vocalist Tierney Sutton sits in on a couple of American Songbook classics, "People Will Say We're in Love" and "Smile." Her voice is such a beautiful instrument, cool and smooth and rich; and when Bob McChesney takes a "cool and rich" trombone solo on "People Will Say We're in Love," sounding very Sutton-esque, we're taken to big band heaven. And, as on No Bounds, Walden's own compositions—the title cut, "Try Harder" and "Otterkam," originally a film score he wrote in the '80s for a German film—could steal the show if the overall effort wasn't so superb.

These are big band sounds at the highest level. An essential disc for fans of the genre.

Visit Chris Walden on the web.


Track Listing: Winter Games; When You Wish Upon a Star; No Bounds; People Will Say We're in Love; Clax's Theme; In the Doghouse; Try Harder; Smile; Someday My Prince Will Come; Otterkam; It's a Small World After All.

Personnel: Tierney Sutton: vocals; Jeff Driskill, Kim Richmond, Rob Lockart, Brandon Fields, Tom Peterson: saxophones; Wayne Bergeron, Kye Palmer, Ron King, Carl Saunders, Kevin Richardson, Till Bronner: trumpets; Bob McChesney, Andy Martin, Alex Iles, Arturo Velasco, Rich Bullock: trombones; Brian Monroney: guitar; Alan Steinberger, Frank Chastenier: piano; Ken Wild: bass; Ray Brinker, Gregg Field: drums; M.B. Gordy: vibraphone, percussion; Chris Walden: additional drum and synth programming; Martin Tillman: electric cello; Gayle Levant: harp; Steve Becknell, Dan Kelley, Brian OConnor, Phillip Yao: French horns; Bruce Dukow (concertmaster), Jackie Brand, Roberto Cani, Tammy Hatwan, Pat Johnson, Jennifer Levin, Josefina Vergara, Marina Manukian, Sid Page, Katia Popov, Marc Sazer, Kevin Connolly, Alan Grunfeld, Roger Wilkie, Tereza Stanislav, Helen Nightengale: violins; Brian Dembow, Matt Funes, Keith Greene, Darrin McCann, Tomas Diener, Roland Kato: violas; Steve Erdody, Trevor Handy, Andrew Shulman, Dane Little, Larry Corbett, Kim Scholes: cellos; Ken Wild, Mike Valerio, Ian Walker: contrabasses.

Record Label: Origin Records

Style: Big Band


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