Phil Woods / Stan Kenton / The Les Hooper Band
Besides Frank, the engaging soloists include alto Nick Martin, pianist Brad Macdonald, trumpeters Dave Kaiser and John Norman, trombonist Adam Thornburgh and baritone Sean Cunningham. Macdonald is featured on "Midnight Bells," while Kaiser and Thornburg are notably eloquent on "Bebop and Roses." And as noted, special props to the hard-working rhythm sectionBrooks, Macdonald, guitarist Chris Parsons, bassist Dan Parker. The Elmhurst Jazz Band and director Doug Beach have visited the recording studio often in the past several years, and it shows. Admirable band, exemplary album.
Purdue University Jazz Band 20032004
This wide-ranging CD by the Purdue University Jazz Band, recorded over four sessions in 2003-04, embodies as its centerpiece guest artist David Cutler's expansive and colorful tone poem, "Jigsaw," with the composer on solo piano during its enticing three-minutes-plus midsection. Nine of the 13 tracks were recorded in concert at Purdue's Loeb Playhouse, giving the ensemble no safety net in which to land, a test it passes with flying colors.
A second guest, Bob Lark, director of the splendid DePaul University Jazz Ensemble, contributes an engaging muted trumpet solo on Tom Matta's shuffling arrangement of George Gershwin's "Summertime." That's one of the highlights in an otherwise pleasing program that opens on a congenial note with Chet Bauch's inventive "Jose Takes Another Train," a Latinized version of the Billy Strayhorn classic. From there, the ensemble faces down and subdues original compositions by Ken Hanna, Sammy Nestico, Tom Harrell and pianist Ryan Hicks, Count Basie's "Every Tub," the Gene Krupa favorite "Leave Us Leap" and the standards "Body and Soul" (superbly arranged by Bob Florence), "Fly Me to the Moon" (ditto Tom Kubis), "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" and Cy Coleman / Peggy Lee's "That's My Style." The last two are sung by Sara Suppinger who is passable on "Style" but seems to be in over her head on "Warm."
Hicks, one of the ensemble's more persuasive soloists, shows promise as a writer with the likable "Cats," performed by a quartet whose other members are tenor saxophonist Alex Chiaghana, bassist Ben Hamilton and drummer Scott Holbert. That's the only number on which the full ensemble is not present. Among the other soloists, trumpeter Alex Fenske, tenor Cosmos Krejci ("Fly Me to the Moon," Nestico's "Queen Bee") and soprano Jake Noparstak ("Summertime") are especially effective. Sound and balance are essentially clear, the song selection first-rate, the ensemble sharp and well-rehearsed thanks to director Mo Trout. Well worth a listen.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Brazilian Affair; A Child's Blues; Nothing But Soul; Randi; Before I Left; Flowers; Ol' Dude; Song for Sass; Solitude; Mother Time.
Personnel: Phil Woods: composer, alto sax. DePaul University Jazz Ensemble: Bob Lark: director; Chuck Parrish, Ethan Bulak, Tim Bales (1-4, 6, 7, 10), Scott Dickinson, Kazumasa Terashima, Joe Clark (5, 8, 9): trumpet, flugelhorn; Nick Mazzarella: alto sax; Corbin Andrick: alto sax, flute; Drew Pierson: tenor sax, flute, clarinet; Alex Beltran: tenor sax, flute; David Kromelow (1-4, 6, 7, 10): baritone sax; Steve Schnall (5, 8, 9): baritone sax, bass clarinet; Bryan Tipps, Rachel Levin, Andrew Hamilton: trombone; Skyler Johnson (1, 4-9), David Hagee (2, 3, 10): bass trombone; Justin Thomas: vibraphone; Terry Bartolotta: guitar; Dan Dufford (1, 4-9), Jim McNeely (2, 3, 10): piano; Joe Policastro (1, 4-9), Steve Gilmore (2, 3, 10): bass; Nick Kabat (1, 4-9), Bill Goodwin (2, 3, 10): drums.
This Is an Orchestra!
Tracks: CD1: Theme & Introduction; Lover; June Christy Award; Lonely Woman; Pete Rugolo Award; Impressionism; Eddie Safranski Award; Safranski; Shelly Manne Award; Artistry in Percussion; Stan Kenton Award; Peanut Vendor; Theme & Sign-Off; A Theme of Four Values; Young Blood; Intermission Riff; Cherokee; Take the "A" Train; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; Fearless Finlay; I'm Glad There Is You; Kingfish; Out of Nowhere; Limelight. CD2: Gone with the Wind; Intermission Riff; Sophisticated Lady; Lullaby of Birdland; It's a Big Wide Wonderful World; Give Me a Song with a Beautiful Melody; PrologueWest Side Story; Maria; Malaguena; What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life; No Harmful Slide Effects; Of Space and Time; For Better or Worster; Street of Dreams; Malaga; Artistry in Rhythm.