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Vince DiMartino is a graduate of the University of Kentucky's very fine jazz studies program headed by Miles Osland. He shares billing with Osland on this CD which has more than 75 minutes of outstanding, disciplined and exciting big band music. Although DiMartino's name is on the album with Osland's , the latter's influence is prevalent throughout. The sound is strikingly similar to those albums Osland made for Sea Breeze and other labels with various Kentucky jazz ensembles, small groups and large. Typical of any jazz pack with which Osland is associated, this band is well rehearsed as a whole and by section. The ensemble play is tight and dynamic. The solos improvise, but stay well within the parameters of the arrangements for the particular piece. Nowhere is this philosophy more apparent than on the initial cut, "Real Life", where Osland with a throbbing alto sax is pushed by the brass instruments in ensemble and by a throw down the gauntlet trumpet solo. Arrangements are written which present the music at its best and which permit the band to show off its finest points. During Charles Mingus' "Pussy Cat Dues" the sax and brass section trade chords while Larry Nelson's bass pays homage to master Mingus.
But most recognizable of Osland's influence is the drumming. Osland recognizes that no matter how good the arrangements, how talented the players, no band is worth its salt unless it has a drummer who can both drive the aggregation and at the same time rein it back in when necessary. On this set, it's Jason Tiemann who has been assigned this job and he does it well.
This album is a sterling example how the big band can fit well into the contemporary jazz scene without losing any of that unique sound which continues to send tingles up and down the spines of listeners whether they be tooting a barn burner or caressing a ballad. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: Real Life; Aim for the Heart; Niece Piece; Spring Is Here; My Secret Love; It Might as Well Be Spring; Tears in Her Eyes; A Night in Tunisia; Tu y Mi Cancion; Fantasia on an Ellington Theme; Pussy Cat Dues; Masaman; Trumpet Tune; I Was a Fool (to Let You Go); I'm Free
Personnel: Vince DiMartino - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Miles Osland - Soprano & Alto Saxes/Clarinet/Piccolo/Alto & Bass Flutes; Hunt Butler - Alto Sax/Flute; Mike Tracy - Alto & Tenor Sax/Flute; Gordon Towell, David Anderson -Tenor Sax/Clarinet/Flute; Lisa Osland - Baritone Sax/Bass Clarinet; Rob Parton, Rich Byrd, Steve Bottom, Tom Brawner, Rick Cook - Trumpet; David Henderson, Dave Ashley, Brad Kerns - Trombone; Lee Watts, Hap Bourgois - Bass Trombone; Raleigh Dailey - Piano; Will Renshaw - Guitar; Larry Nelson - Bass; Jason Tiemann - Drums; Jim Campbell - Vibes/Bells/Percussion