Andy Farber and His Orchestra: This Could Be the Start of Something Big (2010)
A product of Long Island, Farber grew up listening to Art Blakey and Miles Davis. He began attending jazz workshops at the age of 10 and developed into a multifaceted woodwinds player. On this outing, he plays alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and flute. The ensemble features a full-size horn section and a few guests, including vocalist Jon Hendricks.
"Bombers" is an appropriate opening selection. It was composed as a tribute to Count Basie, whose band often played baseball, with one of the teams known as the Bombers. The title is unintentionally reminiscent of World War II, a period when the musical style represented throughout this collection was popular. The piece features a throaty trombone solo by Harvey Tibbs and a muted trumpet by Kenny Rampton.
Hendricks and his backup singers, Aria Hendricks and Kevin Burke, join the band for the title song, a lively arrangement of Steve Allen's "This Could Be the Start of Something Big." Hendricks lends his trademark scat to the middle break, while Farber solos on baritone sax. Jennifer Vincent's bass line also stands out.
Hendricks also contributes to "Roll 'em Pete," his auctioneer-styled vocal complementing Farber's tenor sax, whether he's singing lyrics or scatting. The band also delivers on Thelonious Monk's "52nd Street Theme," with solos by Rampton and alto saxophonist Jay Brandford.
This Could Be the Start of Something Big has a few solos, but it's mostly about the entire band. Regardless of which instrument has the lead, the other players are deeply involved. Big band music has evolved over the decades, but this package recaptures the spirit of bands led by Basie, Duke Ellington and others during the 1930s and '40s.
Track Listing: Bombers; Space Suit; Body & Soul; This Could Be the Start of Something Big; It Is What It Is; Broadway; Roll 'em Pete; Midnight, the Stars & You; 52nd Street Theme; Short Yarn; The Man I Love; High Anxiety; Jack the Bellboy; Seems Like Old Times.
Personnel: Andy Farber: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute; Chuck Wilson: alto sax; Jay Brandford: alto sax; Dan Block: tenor sax, clarinet; Marc Phanenf: tenor sax; Kurt Bacher: baritone sax; Brian Pareschi: trumpet; Kenny Rampton: trumpet; Irv Grossman: trumpet; Alex Norris: trumpet; Art Baron: trombone; Wayne Goodman: trombone; Harvey Tibbs: trombone; Max Seigel: bass trombone; Bob Grillo: guitar; Kenny Ascher: piano; Jennifer Vincent: bass; Alvester Garnett: drums; Mark Sherman: vibraphone (8); Jon Hendricks: vocals (4, 7); Jerry Dodgion: alto sax (6); Aria Hendricks: vocals (4, 7); Kevin Fitzgerald Burke: vocals (4, 7).
Record Label: Black Warrior