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Big Band Caravan

Bobby Watson and UMKC Jazz Orchestra / UNT One O'Clock Lab Band / Kurt Rosenwinkel

By Published: November 2, 2010
"Everything takes wing," we wrote then, "with Barone's soaring charts, which seem to inspire everyone to perform at peak capacity. The ensemble is smoking throughout, and what a great rhythm section! Drummer Paul Kreibich is monstrous, as are pianist John Proulx and bassist Chris Conner—not to mention the split-lead trumpets, Lee Thornburg and Pete DeSiena." Among the many highlights: "Darktown Strutters Ball" from 1917, Barone's tasteful arrangement of "When You're Smiling," and the exciting finale, Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
's "Friends." Rounding out the engaging session are the standards "As Time Goes By," "How Deep Is the Ocean" and "Love Locked Out" along with Bobby Jaspar
Bobby Jaspar
b.1926
's "Cette Chose," J.J. Johnson
J.J. Johnson
J.J. Johnson
1924 - 2001
trombone
's "Lament" and a pair of Barone originals, "Grungy Bungee" and "Road Kill" (which sound much better than their names).

As for the soloists, they are, in a word, "awesome." Tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts
Ernie Watts
Ernie Watts
b.1945
reeds
is featured on "Friends" and "Smiling," tenor Vince Trombetta on "Strutters Ball," alto Keith Bishop on "Love Locked Out," trumpeter Steve Huffsteter on "Time Goes By." Barone's trombone is out front with Trombetta on "Lament," with alto Kim Richmond
Kim Richmond
Kim Richmond

saxophone
on "How Deep," with Bishop (soprano) and Conner on "Cette Chose." Proulx and Watts spruce up the pungent "Road Kill," while baritone Jennifer Hall and trumpeter Ron King take the plunge on "Grungee Bungee."

As there are no "golden ears" on these premises with which to perceive the enhanced sound, here's a reiteration of what was written in 2005: "This is one of those albums wherein all of the pieces fit so snugly together that there's not much one can say except 'bravo!—and please don't make us wait another thirty-seven years for a sequel." [Note: Barone hasn't. Since releasing Live 2005! he has recorded the albums Metropole, By Request, Class of '68 and Flight of the Bumblebee.]

Anthony Brown's Asian American Orchestra

India & Africa: A Tribute to John Coltrane

Water Baby Music

2010

On its fifth and latest CD, India & Africa, drummer / percussionist Anthony Brown
Anthony Brown
Anthony Brown

percussion
's multicultural Asian American Orchestra celebrates the music of legendary saxophonist John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
—not the "early" Coltrane who made his name with the Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
Quintet but the "later" Coltrane of "A Love Supreme" and afterward including his enchantment with the uncommon melodies, rhythms and harmonies of the Far East and Africa.

According to the liners, these are compositions "written by and / or associated with" Coltrane. Coltrane wrote some of the music (the exceptions are Mongo Santamaria
Mongo Santamaria
Mongo Santamaria
1922 - 2003
percussion
's "Afro Blue," Ken Nash's "Exaltation" and Nash / Brown's brief but lively "Percussion Discussion") and played and / or recorded most of the rest ("Exaltation," "Percussion Discussion" and Movement 4 of India: Diaspora, Dana Pandey / Steve Odal's dynamic "Tabla-Sarod Duet" are probable exceptions). Coltrane's India is a suite in five seamless sections, recorded, as was everything on the album, in concert at Yoshi's nightclub in Oakland ("Exaltation" was taped seven months earlier at Yoshi's in San Francisco). Brown analyzed Coltrane's composition and rearranged them for his sixteen-member orchestra, using such instruments as sheng, shakuhachi, sarod, tabla and various African drums to amplify the saxophonist's original concepts.

Suite: Africa encompasses much of the album's second half, preceding the rhythmic and accessible finale, "Afro Blue," which features trombonist Wayne Wallace
Wayne Wallace
Wayne Wallace

trombone
, a founding member of the AAO. The wide-ranging session opens with "Living Space," whose esoteric ambiance is underscored by Masaru Koga on shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and Mark Izu on sheng (Chinese mouth organ). Koga moves to soprano sax, Izu to bass to solo on "India," after which alto saxophonist Malecia Magdaluyo, trumpeter Henry Hung and flutist Marcia Miget
Marcia Miget
Marcia Miget
b.1956
saxophone
deliver the goods on the more Latin- than Indian-centered "Ole." The "Tabla-Sarod Duet" precedes the last movement, "India-Reprise," again featuring Koga's Trane-inspired soprano sax. The soloists on Suite: Africa are percussionist Nash ("Exaltation," on which he also sings); tenors Koga ("Africa") and Magdaluyo (with pianist Glen Pearson) on "Liberia," percussionists Brown and Nash ("Percussion Discussion," "Dahomey Dance") and tenor Koga again ("Africa-Reprise").


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