Big Bands: Another Bumper Crop
With the end of the year peeking demurely over the horizon, it's a good time to glance over one's shoulder and concede that 2007 has yielded yet another bumper crop of big-band recordings. Yes, I am as puzzled as you are as to why this should be. After all, big bands, as we are told repeatedly, are dead and gone, never to return. Lively corpses, I'd say, and in some cases literally so, as among the "new releases are CDs by the Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Bobby Burgess, Maynard Ferguson, Gene Krupa and Illinois Jacquet bands.
Among those who are still with us, it's always a kick to hear new albums by the likes of Mike Barone, Wayne Bergeron, Blue Wisp, John Fedchock, Bob Florence, Bill Holman, Don Menza, Rob Parton, Jim Widner and Gerald Wilson, all of whom came through with flying colors in '07.
Listed below (in alphabetical order, so as not to ruffle anyone's feathers) are many of the outstanding big-band recordings of the year, most of which have been reviewed somewhere or other by this writer, with an apology to any that may have been inadvertently overlooked.
Anzic Orchestra/Anat Cohen, Noir.
Robert Bachner Big Band, Moments of Noise. Mike Barone Big Band, By Request. Wayne Bergeron, Plays Well with Others. Big Band Express, Born on the Road. Big Time Jazz Orchestra, Fanfare From Some Flounder? Birdland Big Band, The Lew Anderson Tribute Concert. Blue Wisp Big Band, Tribute. Boulevard Big Band, Live at Harlings Upstairs. BuJazzO, Calling South Africa. Bobby Burgess Big Band Explosion, Live at Rosenau Stuttgart. Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, Carol of the Bells. Igor Butman Big Band, The Eternal Triangle.
Columbus Jazz Orchestra, The Colors of Jazz. C.U.G. Jazz Orchestra, Going on the Road.
Dallas' Original Jazz Orchestra, Messin' with Texas. James L. Dean Big Band, Swingin' at the Whisky Café. DePaul University Jazz Ensemble/Phil Woods, Swingchronicity.
European Youth Jazz Orchestra, Swingin' Europe 2006. Eveneven Big Band, Tiny Elephant.
Fat Tuesday Big Band/Ernie Krivda, Body & Soul. Tony Faulkner Jazz Orchestra, Thad Jones and the Ellington Effect. John Fedchock Big Band, Up and Running. Maynard Ferguson, The One and Only. Maynard Ferguson, MF Horn VI: Live at Ronnie Scott's. Maynard Ferguson, The Lost Tapes. Bob Florence Limited Edition, Eternal Licks and Grooves. Frank Foster's Loud Minority Big Band, Well Water. Rodger Fox Big Band, No Exit.
Global Jazz Orchestra, Global Standard Vol. II.
Johnny Holloway Big Band, Just Friends. Bill Holman Big Band, Hommage. Howard University Jazz Ensemble, Here's to Life! Steve Huffsteter Big Band, Live at Café 322.
Illinois Jacquet, Swingin' Live. Jentsch Group Large, Brooklyn Suite. Dick Johnson Big Band, Star Dust and Beyond. Jump City Jazz Orchestra, Live at Chris' Café.
Stan Kenton, Cool, Hot and Swingin'. Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Blues Man From Memphis. Dietrich Koch Big Band, Berlin Cookbook. Gene Krupa Orchestra / Michael Berkowitz, Thinking of Gene. Kutztown University Jazz Ensemble, Dance You Monster.
Brad Leali Jazz Orchestra, Maria Juanez. Jason Lindner Big Band, Live at the Jazz Gallery.
Jim Manley, Splendor in the Brass II. Ian McDougall Big Band, No Passport Required. Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra, First Flight. Dean McNeill Large Jazz Ensemble, Prairie Fire. Mesa Community College, Then and Now. Eric Miyashiro, Times Square. Mt Hood Community College, I'm Still Here.
NDR Big Band / Christina Fuchs, Soundscapes. New Big Band/John Blount, Better Days Ahead. New England Jazz Ensemble, Live at the Pittsfield City Jazz Festival. No Name Horses, Stinger. Vince Norman/Joe McCarthy Big Band, Words Cannot Express. Northeastern State University, The Point.
Rob Parton's JazzTech Big Band, Just One of Those Things.
Buddy Rich, Rich in London. Buddy Rich, Time Out.
Maria Schneider Orchestra, Sky Blue. Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra, Meeting of the Waters. Sentimental Journey Orchestra, On the Bandstand. Brad Steinwehe Jazz Orchestra, Nutville. Fred Stride Jazz Orchestra, Forward Motion. Joe Sullivan Big Band, Stop and Listen. Swiss Jazz Orchestra/Jim McNeely, Paul Klee. SWR Big Band / Don Menza, Voyage.
Ohad Talmor Big Band/Lee Konitz, Portology. Texas Christian University, Leap Frog. Texas Instruments Big Band, AlgoRhythms. Texas Tech University, Glimmer of Night & Day. Gary Tole and the Legends of Swing, One Kettle for Count. Charles Tolliver Big Band, With Love.
University of Northern Colorado, Here in the Now. University Of Northern Iowa, Renovation. University Of Toronto 10 O'Clock Band, Awakening. University Of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Christmas Day, My Favorite Day.
Wayne Wallace, Dedication. Walsall Jazz Orchestra, Little Steps. Tracy Wells Big Swing Band, Swing Is Here. Westchester Jazz Orchestra, All In. Jim Widner Big Band, Out of This World. Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Monterey Moods. Thilo Wolf Big Band, Big Band Shout. Wurzburg Jazz Orchestra, Artistry in Rhythm: The Music of Stan Kenton.