Phil Woods / DePaul University Jazz Ensemble: Swingchronicity (2007)
Not your average university jazz band or your typical recording of oft-heard standards, Swingchronicity represents a musical collaboration between one of the finest university jazz bands in the country and a jazz legend. Under the direction of Bob Lark, trumpeter and Director of Jazz Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble is heard live at Chicago's Jazz Showcase with special guest, world-renowned alto great Phil Woods.
Producing an unbelievable sound for a college level group, one gets the sense that you've just heard from the up-and-coming jazz starts of the future. Woods' brilliance is heard on the first seven of this ten-tune set..
This is not the first time that Woods and Lark have worked together; in fact, they have a history of collaborating and released In Her Eyes (Jazzed Media), by The Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet, in 2006. The duo plays together again here on the Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne classic "It's You Or No One, with Lark on flugelhorn.
Another one of Lark's favorite musicians is pianist Jim McNeely, from whom he borrows a couple of charts"Rosenwind and the fourteen minute-plus "Skittish, featuring pianist Ben Dockery, bassist Cory Biggerstaff and guitarist Scott Hesse.
Alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella and drummer Lawrence Haskin display their more than ample talents with fiery play on Thomas Matta's "Recessions. Matta, a member of the DePaul faculty, also provides several lush arrangements, including the Sammy Cahn chart and the brassy opener, "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You, where Woods blows down the doors with the first of his many torrid solos.
Lark also employs two Quincy Jones compositions. Woods shares the lead with student tenor Anthony Bruno and vibraphonist Justin Thomas on "Stockholm Sweetnin', while the altoist takes and holds center stage on "The Quintessence, a beautiful ballad arranged by Rob McConnell.
The ensemble plays a chart from one of their own on "Norwegian Summer, by altoist Lena Lien, who does an excellent job in the shadow of Woods, who is silent here. There are appreciable solos throughout the album from others students including trumpeters Dan Jonas and Justin Surdyn.
If you enjoy big band music, you will love Swingchronicity. Bob Lark and the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble live up to their award-winning reputation in swinging fashion, while master altoist Phil Woods takes care of business with another electrifying performance.
Track Listing: I'm Getting Sentimental Over You; Stockholm Sweetnin'; Never Let Me Go; It's You or No One; Along Came Betty; The Quintessence; Rosenwind; Norweigian Summer; Skittish; Recessions.
Personnel: Phil Woods: alto sax; The DePaul University Jazz Ensemble : Bob Lark: director, flugelhorn (4); Dan Jonas: trumpet, flugelhorn; Gerald Bailey: trumpet, flugelhorn; Justin Surdyn: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jeff Kienstra: trumpet, flugelhorn; Nick Mazzarella: alto, soprano sax, flute; Lena Lien: alto, soprano, tenor sax, flute; Anthony Bruno: tenor sax, flute; Drew Pierson: tenor sax, clarinet; Rick Deja: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Bryant Scott: trombone; Ryan Kienstra: trombone; Andrew Zelm: trombone; Brian Honsberger: bass trombone; Ben Dockery: piano; Scott Hesse: guitar; Justin Thomas: vibraphone; Cory Biggerstaff: bass; Lawrence Haskin: drums.