The Jim Knapp Orchestra: Secular Breathing (2003)
Jensen, sitting in for another splendid trumpeter, Jay Thomas, who was heard on the orchestra's previous recording, Things for Now, frames eloquent solos on Knap's 'Kennewick, Man,' 'Combos in Indiana' and 'Home,' while Wikan shows that he's among the best when it comes to kicking a band. Tenor Rob Davis shares blowing space on the punchy 'Kennewick,' tenor Saul Cline, baritone Greg Metcalf and pianist John Hansen on the cha cha/shuffle 'Combos,' bassist Phil Sparks on the gentle blues 'Home.'
Knapp wrote everything else except Alec Wilder's 'Moon and Sand' and Kurt Weill's 'Nanna's Lied,' both of which he arranged. Sparks, trombonist Jeff Hay and alto Mark Taylor step up as soloists on the hauntingly lovely 'Sand,' Sparks and Hansen on the somber yet enticing tango 'Nanna's Lied.'
For old-fashioned no-holds-barred swinging Knapp offers 'G Baby' (solos by Hay, tenor Rob Davis), 'Buddha Bang' (Wikan, Davis, Hansen) and the perky title tune (Hansen, Sparks and the 'three tenors,' Taylor, Cline and Davis). The pensive 'Kreuzberg Soliloquy' adds shifting tempos to shapely solos by Taylor (soprano) and Hansen, leading to the rhythmically abundant finale, 'Laura Mae's Getaway.'
'Secular' or otherwise, Knapp and his colleagues can breathe easily; they've sculpted another blue-chip album of persuasive big-band jazz.
Track Listing: Kennewick, Man; Combos in Indiana; Noon and Sand; G, Baby; Nanna?s Lied; Secular Breathing; Home; Buddha Bang; Kreuzberg Siloloquy; Laura Mae?s Getaway (70:55).
Personnel: Jim Knapp, composer, conductor; Mark Taylor, Saul Cline, soprano, alto, tenor sax; Rob Davis, tenor sax; Greg Metcalf, baritone sax; Brad Allison, Ingrid Jensen, Jack Halsey, trumpet, flugelhorn; Karen Halsey, French horn; Jeff Hay, trombone; Greg Schroeder, bass trombone; John Hansen, piano; Phil Sparks, bass; Jon Wikan, drums.
Record Label: Origin Records