Ray Anderson & Brande Intl. Music Workshop Orchestra: BIMWO Swing
Recorded Live at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse, BIMWO (Brande International Music Workshop Orchestra) Swing features the trombone talents of the great Chicago born Ray Anderson who also conducted and composed these pieces. Here, twenty Conservatory trained musicians from all over the globe perform under the direction of the estimable Mr. Anderson.
For the most part, this recording works; however, some of the featured soloist’s sound tentative in spots as in Anderson’s composition “Leo’s Place” which was originally featured on Anderson’s excellent Gramavision release “Big Band Record”. Here, pianist Makiko Hirabayashi solos midstream yet lags behind the swinging meter and overall intensity of the lively horn charts. On Anderson’s “Tapajack”, Simon Rigter’s tenor sax solo thrusts the band into a furious swing romp while the heavy funk undercurrent and punctual brass arrangements give due justice to this signature style Anderson composition. “Snoo Tune” originally released on Anderson’s Gramavision recording “Every One Of Us” contains a catchy upbeat melody; although, vocalist Aviaja Lumholt, loses some of the nuance and subtleties of the verses while vocalizing in English. Lumholt possesses a fine canary-like voice and hails from Greenland. No major beef here but fairly obvious that she’s struggling in English. Anderson compensates well with one of his trademark robust and fleet-fingered ‘bone solos. Anderson also conveys warmth and passion performing his soulful ballad “Phoebe’s Dance”.
BIMWO Swing was impeccably recorded and the overall vibe is positive and endearing. The arrangements are generally tight yet at times it seems as though some of the soloists were taking baby steps, on the other hand Anderson is a marvelous an underrated composer. BIMWO Swing is compelling, bright and enjoyable but if you’re looking for highly charged Sammy Nestico type Big Band arrangements than this recording may lack the knockout blow so to speak.