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Big Band Caravan

Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra / 9th+Lincoln / Georg Riedel / VCU Jazz / Bobby Vince Paunetto / Klas Lindquist

By Published: June 16, 2008
Bobby Vince Paunetto
Paunetto's Point
RSVP Records

Multi-talented Bobby Vince Paunetto travels south of the border to serve up some easygoing Latin Jazz on Paunetto's Point, a follow-up to his well-received album Reconstituted. Paunetto's rhythm-heavy thirteen-piece band is augmented on several tracks by a string quartet, which to these ears, at least, is superfluous. As on his previous album, Paunetto has written and arranged the lion's share of the songs (five of eight), with one each by Martin Smith, saxophonist Todd Anderson and trombonist Ed Byrne. Unlike that earlier enterprise, however, Paunetto also plays piano and vibes, soloing smartly on Byrne's "Fenway Funk" and Martin's "Osiris."

Even in a Latin groove, the rhythms are for the most part gentle—one might even say subtle—as compared to, say, Tito Puente, Machito, Poncho Sanchez, Chico O'Farrill or other Latin icons. Solos are in a similar vein, with Byrne, Anderson, trumpeter Tom Harrell, soprano Billy Drewes, baritone Ronnie Cuber and bassist Andy Gonzalez sharing the honors. As there are no liner notes to speak of, one assumes that William Joseph Paunetto, whose infant photo appears next to the opening number, "Brother Will," is Paunetto's brother who did not survive childhood. Anderson's tenor is showcased on the second selection, Paunetto's "A Hybrid Situation," Harrell's trumpet on "In Time's Time." Paunetto also wrote and arranged "Paunetto's Point 2" (solos by Drewes, Cuber and Jerry Gonzalez on quinto) and the flavorful finale, "Heavy on the Bacon," which casually fades away in the midst of Anderson's sizzling tenor solo.

This is Latin jazz for those who'd rather not be blown away by earsplitting brass bombardments or set on edge by unforeseen rhythmic outbursts. It's largely smooth and trouble-free, well-written and exceedingly well-played by Paunetto and his colleagues. In other words, this is music that is as smooth and unflappable as it is handsome and rewarding.

Klas Lindquist Nonet
Lift Off
Phono Suecia

Lift Off, says Swedish composer / arranger / saxophonist Klas Lindquist, sprang from an idea he had of "writing music with nine specific musicians in mind." Considering the result, one must concede that it was a great idea, as this is one dynamic and swinging album in the straight-ahead tradition endorsed by such Jazz masters as Gerry Mulligan, Marty Paich, Ernie Wilkins, Slide Hampton and Rob McConnell, among others.

Not only is Lindquist a gifted writer, those friends of his—who together comprise his nonet—are similarly impressive, working flawlessly as a unit and soloing with ardor and intelligence. Lindquist is a paragon in that area as well, whether on soprano sax ("Waltz Now"), clarinet ("Sweet Like You") or alto sax ("Warm," "Buffy"). "Warm" is the midsection of Lindquist's three-part Suite for Nonet, the other movements of which are "Coolin'" (solos by pianist Petter Carlsson, trumpeter Nils Janson, drummer Daniel Fredriksson) and "Hot" (featuring baritone Fredrik Lindborg, tenor Robert Nordmark and trumpeter Karl Olandersson). Trombonist Magnus Wiklund solos with Lindquist on "Warm," while Nordmark's agile tenor is highlighted on "All Systems Go." The opening "Simsalabim," based on a three-note motif, embodies persuasive solos by Lindborg and Olandersson.

Technically speaking, this isn't a big band, but odds are the average listener won't even notice or care about that. These are nine first-class musicians speaking as one, which generally makes for a pleasant and provocative listening experience. While the names may be new, the music is firmly anchored in the time-honored Jazz mainstream.

Tracks and Personnel

Harriet Tubman

Tracks: CD1: Prelude: Ben & Bit; Ashanti Stomp; I Will Not Stand Still; Ben (Passin' Time); Life on the Chesapeake; Over Here Lord; North to Delaware. CD2: Stampede of Slaves; Freedom Trail; 54th Regiment (Will They Fight?); Black Suffrage Blues; Go Down Moses.

Personnel: Marcus Shelby: composer, arranger, conductor, bass; Darren Johnston, Dave Scott, Joel Ryan, Mike Olmos: trumpet; Gabe Eaton, Marcus Stephens: alto sax; Bob Barics: tenor sax, clarinet; Evan Francis: tenor sax, flute; Tom Griesser: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Danny Grewen, Scott Larson: trombone; Marc Bolin: bass trombone; Adam Shulman: piano; Jeff Marrs: drums; Faye Carol, Kenny Washington, Jeannine Anderson, Joseph Mace: vocals.

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