The Swiss Jazz School Orchestra: Shades of Time (2004)
Except for vibraphonist Silvano Bazan, who performs Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler’s “Get Happy,” and vocalist Sandy Patton (Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”), the other guest artists perform their own compositions as well. Joris is followed by alto saxophonist and SJS director George Robert (“A Day in Paris”), guitarist Francis Coletta (“Surfin’ on the Neck”), acclaimed tenor saxophonist Andy Scherrer (“Second Step”), Patton, Bazan, pianist William Evans (“Sundance”), organist Günter Kühlwein (“Old Times”) and trombonist Robert Morgenthaler (“On the Move”). Although Bazan is listed before Patton on the booklet and tray, his vibes feature actually follows her vocal.
The SJSO has a number of able soloists of its own, including alto saxophonist Till Grünewald (“Surfin’ on the Neck”), tenor Dirk Oesch (“Sentimental Mood”) and guitarist Lorenzo Herrnhut (“On the Move”). But it is the ensemble as a whole that impresses most thoroughly, carrying out its assignments with the sort of energy and élan that ensures the highest level of comfort for each of its prominent guests. While the rhythm sections vary from track to track, that doesn’t seem to make any difference, as the orchestra charts a steady course no matter who is at the helm.
If I lean slightly toward the selections by Joris, Robert, Coletta, Scherrer and Bazan, that is no more than personal preference, as everything on the album is more than agreeable. A splendid orchestra with (invited) soloists to match.
Track Listing: Kong
Personnel: Stefan Geiser, Johannes Walter, Thomas Knuchel, Lukas Th
Record Label: TCB Music
Style: Big Band