NYJO, Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, University of Northern Iowa
Kelly's music leans rhythmically toward fusion, funk and rock, making fine use of the trumpets, individually and in unison, while supporting them with a strong and insistent backbeat. The lone exception is the colorful "Fanfare and Reflections," on which seven trumpets have the stage to themselves. Trombonist Greig is featured with trumpeters Garret Savluk and Nick Drozdoff on "Crawl, Slap and Boogie," while the strings are most prominent on the mellow "Three Days in Saratoga."
If you're partial to trumpets, these gentlemen won't let you down. Keep in mind, however, that trumpets and rhythm are, for the most part, what you get. There are no reeds, a trombone on but one track, strings on a couple. And there's no piano, as Graham Wood plays only synthesizer. While nothing save the fanfare really turned me on, that's my sentiment, not yours. Trumpet fans may wish to give it a spin and make up their own minds.
Doug Beavers Rovira Jazz Orchestra
Doug Beavers Rovira isn't the first bandleader to reach out to the "diminutive demographic," but he may be the first to do so without pretense or condescension. In other words, Rovira doesn't play "down" to toddlers and children, he raises them "up" by clothing nearly a dozen nursery rhymes and songs in clever orchestral arrangements that would please even the hippest adult listeners. Blend in charming vocals by Matt Catingub and Linda Harmon and you have Jazz, Baby!
Coincidentally, Jazz Baby (sans comma or exclamation mark) is the name of a two-disc set released not long ago by Casablanca Records, but unlike Rovira's self-contained enterprise, it's a compilation featuring such well-known singer/entertainers as Rosemary Clooney, Billy Preston, Dr. John, Cybill Shepherd, Janis Siegel, Jim Belushi, Freddy Cole, Barbara Morrison, Claudia Acuña and Kymberly Evans. Also unlike Rovira's big-band album, the "Jazz" content is sporadic, not steady.
Rovira's choice of material is delightful, from "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and The Hokey Pokey" to "Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Shortnin' Bread," "Comin' Round the Mountain," "The Ants Go Marching In," "Hush Little Baby" and "You Are My Sunshine." At the end, Harmon ushers in nap-time with a soft and gentle version of the "Brahms Lullaby."
Are toddlers ready for a regular diet of jazz? One can always hope. In any event, there's no harm in exposing them to it. I raised my three on steady doses of Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz and others. Did it work? Well, I can't honestly say they're as passionate about jazz as their old man, but they at least understand and appreciate it, along with other kinds of music. For those who have toddlers, or who simply love children's songs, Rovira's Jazz, Baby! is warmly recommended.
Tracks and Personnel
Out Of Hamelin
Tracks: Out Of Hamelin (An Army Mutters/No Evil Star/Three Notes On The Enraptured Air/Paying the Piper), performed by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" by Robert Browning, read by Helen Ashton. Interview with composer Paul Hart.
Personnel: Paul Hart: composer, arranger; Gareth Lockrane: flute soloist; Bill Ashton: conductor, music director; Helen Ashton: narrator ("The Pied Piper of Hamelin"); The National Youth Jazz OrchestraCraig Wild, Nathan Bray, Tom Rees-Roberts, Brian Davis, Henry Collins: trumpet; Sam Mayne, Simon Meredith: alto sax; Josephine Davies, Ollie Weston: tenor sax; Claire McInerney: baritone sax; Mike Feltham, Andy Wood, Bob Dowell, Bill Bouzon, Dave Williamson, Lewis Edney: trombone; Kerin Black: French horn; Steve Holness: piano; Adam Goldsmith: guitar; Dave Foster: bass; Darren Williams: drums; Martin Briggs: percussion.
Carol Of The Bells
Tracks: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; The Christmas Song; O Tannenbaum; Joy To The World; Silent Night; Jingle Bells; I'll Be Home For Christmas; Carol Of The Bells; Let It Snow!; Skating; Christmastime Is Here; What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?.
Personnel: Mark Buselli: co-leader, trumpet, flugelhorn; Brent Wallarab: co-leader, arranger, trombone; Joey Tartell, Jeff Conrad, Mike Hackett: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tom Meyer: alto, soprano sax, flute, clarinet; Mike Stricklin: alto sax, flute, clarinet; Frank Glover: tenor sax, clarinet; Rob Dixon: tenor, soprano sax; Ned Boyd: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Loy Hetrick, Jason Miller: trombone; Rich Dole: bass trombone; Luke Gillespie: piano; Jack Helsley: bass; Jesse Nolan: drums; Everett Greene: vocals.
Tracks: From The Heart; Light House; Soul Bagel; Onmo; All That; One Mint Julep; Davidicus 25:8; Isfahan; Yesterdays; Renovation.