Stan Bock Ensemble: Your Check's In The Mail (2007)
While not a household name in the jazz world, composer/arranger and trombonist Stan Bock has an extensive musical background. He hails from a family of musicians and has two previous recordings to his credit, Of Fathers and Sons (1999) and Night Grooves (2003), both on OA2. Marking his third outing as a leader, Your Check Is In The Mail presents an exciting blend of original charts and uncommon standards delivered in swinging fashion.
Dedicated to the memory of his late wife and musicians who have influenced his life, the album includes compositions from Thad Jones, Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie and pays homage to the recently departed Godfather of Soul, James Brown with an original tune simply titled "The Godfather.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Bock's nine-piece ensemble includes some of the finest Portland area jazz musicians, including members of drummer Mel Brown's Sextet, tenor man Renato Carranto and alto saxophonist Warren Rand. Other players include pianist and organist George Mitchell, Paul Mazzio on trumpet/flugelhorn, Jattik Clark on tuba and Dave Captein on bass. Mitch Wilson replaces Brown on the drums on one cut.
When you listen to the music, you'll be challenged to believe that there are only nine musicians playing here; this medium ensemble produces a heck of a big band sound. This is immediately evident right from the opening Thad Jones tune "Ain't Nothing New, that bristles with bursts from the brass. Calming things down, if for only one tune, is the soft ballad of "Crystal's Waltz, featuring appreciable solos from Bock.
Renato Carranto's electrifying quick moving title piece features sizzling solos from altoist Rand, Carranto on tenor, a trumpet foray and a well placed scatting from the leader in a torrid hard bop number. The classic standard, "On Green Dolphin Street, rivals any other rendition of this oft played tune.
Changing the pace quite a bit is Bock's arrangement of "Bouncin' The Baby, which turns out to be one down right funky burner, showcasing Mitchell's play on the Hammond B-3 organ. Dizzy Gillespie would be pleased with Bock's version of his classic immortal tune, "A Night In Tunisia.
One of the terrific big band arrangements on this album has to be the short but very sweet "Blues For B, characterized by a catchy and infectious melody. The album ends with Bock's tribute to James Brown with the very percussive and rambunctious "The Godfather.
This recording is a thoroughly enjoyable big band album performed by a small collection of unheralded musicians that can play with anybody. Your Check's In The Mail is nothing less than a powerful musical statement with an exclamation point from Stan Bock and his ensemble.
Track Listing: Ain't Nothin' New; Crystal's Waltz; Your Check's In The Mail; On Green Dolphin Street; Bouncin' The Baby; Jinriksha; A Night In Tunisia; Blues For B; I'll Remember April; I Cross My Heart; The Godfather.
Personnel: Stan Bock: trombone, euphonium, vocals; Paul Mazzio: trumpet, flugelhorn; Warren Rand: alto saxophone; Renato Caranto: tenor, soprano saxophone; Jattik Clark: tuba; George Mitchell: piano, B3 organ, keyboards; Dave Captein: acoustic bass, electric bass; Mel Brown: drums; Mitch Wilson: drums (6).