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The Chris Walden Big Band: No Bounds (2006)

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

For his sophomore release, trumpeter Chris Walden has written big band arrangements for several old chestnuts, several fresh originals and a few rare gems. His program sparkles with an accessible ambience. The combination of several vocal selections, a balance of orchestral instruments and big band sounds, and stellar soloing from this lineup of Los Angeles all-stars ensures that No Bounds will compare favorably with Walden's highly successful debut, Home of My Heart.

A contemporary arrangement filled with dramatic overtones surrounds Kim Richmond's feature on "When You Wish Upon a Star." The alto saxophonist, who fills each measure with a cornucopia of ideas, lets the music swing with a deeply felt blues base. Emotions ebb and flow as Walden's band arrangement embraces the soloist with adventurous flights of tension and release.

Tierney Sutton sings "People Will Say We're in Love and "Smile with a deep sense for each lyric's contextual meaning. Her convincing interpretations eschew glamour, glitz and technical virtuosity in favor of heartfelt feeling.

Walden's flugelhorn adorns "In the Doghouse, an original with a light, contemporary texture. Swinging casually with a feel for subtle impressionism, he gives us a pleasant adventure that's built for comfort but made with intricate tools. There's a lot going on throughout this swinging affair, and yet it comes to pass with relaxed ease.

Kye Palmer and Tom Peterson give Walden's "Try Harder a hearty muscular feel that swings comfortably around fiery band fixtures. Walking bass and a staccato drum conversation fill the room with variety.

As Carl Saunders and Alex Iles step out front for Walden's exceptional arrangement of "It's a Small World After All, you can feel the fire that drives the band. Emotions are on overdrive as both soloists provide fluid sojourns on top of the band's innovative interpretation. Walden must have considered this piece a challenge right from the start. How does an arranger take a namby-pamby tune like this, after all, and turn it into a classic big band romp? He's had plenty of experience, he's gathered all the right people together, and together they pull it off sensationally.

Visit Chris Walden on the web.


Track Listing: Winter Games; When You Wish Up a Star; No Bounds; People Will Say Were in Love; Claxs Theme; In the Doghouse; Try Harder; Smile; Someday My Prince Will Come; Otterkam; Its a Small World.

Personnel: Chris Walden: leader, flugelhorn, additional drum & synth programming; Jeff Driskill, Kim Richmond, Rob Lockart, Brandon Fields, Tom Peterson: saxophone; Wayne Bergeron, Kye Palmer, Ron King, Carl Saunders, Kevin Richardson, Till Brnner: trumpet; Bob McChesney, Andy Martin, Alex Iles, Arturo Velasco, Rich Bullock: trombone; Brian Monroney: guitar; Alan Steinberger, Frank Chastenier: piano; Ken Wild: bass; Ray Brinker, Gregg Field: drums; M.B. Gordy: vibraphone, percussion; Martin Tillman: electric cello; Gayle Levant: harp; Steve Becknell, Dan Kelley, Brian OConnor, Phillip Yao: French horn; 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: violin; Brian Dembow, Matt Funes, Keith Greene, Darrin McCann, Thomas Diener, Roland Kato: viola; Steve Erdody, Trevor Handy, Andrew Shulman, Dane Little, Larry Corbett, Kim Scholes: cello; Mike Valerio, Ian Walker: contrabass; Tierney Sutton: vocals.

Record Label: Origin Records

Style: Big Band


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