The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra: Living in the Moment (2003)
When one releases a debut album as impressive as Gary Urwin's Perspectives, the question then becomes, 'What can you do for an encore?' What Urwin has done is exceed everyone's expectations perhaps even his own with Living in the Moment, a breathtaking follow-up session that bristles with energy, intelligence and class.
Once again, Urwin leads an all-star ensemble of Southern California's most accomplished sidemen through a wide-ranging program of striking standards and outstanding originals including four of his own 'Colores del Fuego,' 'Sublimation,' 'For Liz and John' and 'Outside Looking In.' As before, Urwin has masterfully arranged every number, applying dazzling new colors to pianist Bill Evans' 'Time Remembered,' Jeremy Wall's 'Little Linda,' Gerry Mulligan's 'Song for Strayhorn' and Thelonious Monk's ''Round Midnight,' and seamlessly blending Strayhorn's poignant 'Lush Life' with Samuel Barber's shimmering 'Adagio for Strings.'
The album opens and closes with contrasting versions of Brooks Bowman's 'East of the Sun,' the first a lively horse race with galloping solos by tenor Pete Christlieb, bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ralphe Razze, the second a sedate duo performance by Christlieb and pianist Christian Jacob. Christlieb and fellow tenor Rickey Woodard are showcased with Jacob and Razze on Frank Loesser's (anything but) 'Slow Boat to China,' guest trombonist Bill Watrous and soprano saxophonist Kim Richmond on the memorable Frank Sinatra hit, 'I'm a Fool to Want You.' Christlieb and trombonist Andy Martin are superb on Urwin's groovy 'Outside Looking In,' while Richmond (alto) teams with guitarist Frank Browne and guest flutist Ali Ryerson to further brighten the bouncy 'Little Linda.' Cellist David Shamban helps polish the lyrical 'Song for Strayhorn,' harpist Amy Shulman does the same on 'Time Remembered,' and the band's fabulous trumpet section (Ron King, Steve Huffsteter, Carl Saunders, Wayne Bergeron) elevates the temperature on Urwin's impassioned 'Colores del Fuego.' Other top-drawer soloists include guitarist John Pisano and pianist Paul Chipello ('Time Remembered'), saxophonists Bob Efford and Rusty Higgins, trumpeter Ron King and percussionist Michito Sanchez.
Living in the Moment offers further proof, if any were needed, that Urwin, a barrister by profession and composer/arranger in his 'spare time,' is every inch as persuasive and unflappable leading a band through its paces in a studio as he is arguing a case in a court of law.
Track Listing: East of the Sun; Colores del Fuego; Sublimation; I?m a Fool to Want You; Slow Boat to China; Time Remembered; Little Linda; Song for Strayhorn; Lush Life / Adagio for Strings; For Liz and John; Outside Looking In; ?Round Midnight; East of the Sun (duet) (64:14).
Personnel: Gary Urwin, leader, arranger, composer; Kim Richmond, Rusty Higgins, alto, soprano sax, flute, alto flute; Pete Christlieb, tenor sax, flute; Rickey Woodard or Terry Harrington or Ray Reed, tenor sax, flute, clarinet; Bob Efford, baritone sax, flute, bass clarinet; Wayne Bergeron, Rick Baptist, Frank Szabo, John Thomas, Ron King or Bobby Burns, trumpet, flugelhorn; Charlie Loper, Alex Iles or Andy Martin, Dave Woodley, trombone; Steve Ferguson or Steve Holtman, bass trombone; Christian Jacob or Paul Chipello, piano; Frank Browne, guitar; Trey Henry, bass; Ralph Razze, drums; Michito Sanchez, percussion. On selected tracks: Amy Shulman, harp; David Shamban, cello; Carl Saunders, Steve Huffsteter, solo trumpet. Special guest artists ? Bill Watrous, trombone; John Pisano, guitar; Ali Ryerson, alto flute.