Michael Pagan Big Band: Pag's Groove (2005)
With bold dynamics, Pagán has crafted an original and compelling big band sound. The band belts it out one minute, murmurs an intimate conversation the next, using deep dense harmonies that fade to horn solos in front of bass and drums, with bright dabs of piano or vibes slipped in.
The title tune brims with gorgeous soloing from trombonist John Hines and trumpeter Garner Pruitt as Pagán's composition pays tribute to the legendary "Bag's Groove," with vibraphonist Greg Harris in a Milt Jackson mode; listen to the leader's piano comping soft and subtle behind him.
All the tunes here are Pagán originals, except for the standard "Never Let Me Go," played with a downtempo grandeur and more layers of sound than you can pick up on just one or two listens.
A start-to-finish fine big band outing.
Track Listing: Essential Trivia; Lyric Interlude; Pag's Groove; Waltz for a Bad Hair Day; Never Let Me Go; Crazy Man's Game; More than a Friend; We're Almost There.
Personnel: Michael Pagan: leader, piano; Pete Olstad, Brad Goode, Garner Pruitt, Al Hood, Greg Gisbert: trumpet; Pete Lewis: alto and soprano saxophones, flute; Kurtis Adams: alto saxophone, flute; Tom Myer: tenor, soprano saxophone; Eric McGregor: tenor saxophone; Clare Church: baritone saxophone; Darren Kramer, John Hines, Kevin Buchanan: trombone (1-3, 6-8); Tom Ball: trombone (4, 5), euphonium (2, 7); Matt Plummer: bass trombone; Bill Kopper: guitar (2, 4-8); Greg Harris: vibraphone (1, 3); Bijoux Barbarosa: bass; Dave Rohlf: drums.
Record Label: Capri Records
Style: Big Band