All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Big Band Caravan

John MacLeod & His Rex Hotel Orchestra / Tim Davies Big Band / New England Jazz Ensemble

By Published: September 3, 2011
Gates, an ultra-hip singer in the image of Bob Dorough
Bob Dorough
Bob Dorough
b.1923
piano
, Dave Frishberg
Dave Frishberg
Dave Frishberg
b.1933
piano
and others, is smooth and eloquent, singing and scatting effortlessly on his three numbers, Oscar Brown Jr.
Oscar Brown Jr.
Oscar Brown Jr.
1926 - 2005
vocalist
's "Hazel's Hips," the Gershwin brothers' "Lady Be Good" (tied to "Disappointed," lyrics by Eddie Jefferson
Eddie Jefferson
Eddie Jefferson
1918 - 1979
vocalist
) and "Jeannine," while Abercrombie quickly shows who's in charge on "Folk," "Business" and "Labour Day," fashioning resonant single-note lines with ease and authority while the ensemble provides a colorful backdrop. Everyone returns for the buoyant finale, which encompasses enterprising solos by Ryerson, Abercrombie, Mele and bassist Steve Bulmer along with more congruous scatting by Gates. Others who forge impressive solos along the way include tenors Larry Dvorin and Mike Leventhal, trumpeters Steve Fitzko and Phil Person.

When all is said, done and written, this was indeed A Grand Night for Swinging, and those who showed up at the Polish National Home in Hartford, CT, on that memorable evening in June 2010 were fortunate to be there. For those who weren't, this marvelous CD is the next best thing.

Swingadelic

The Other Duke: Tribute to Duke Pearson

Zoho Music

2010

New Jersey-based Swingadelic describes itself as a "swing band" with elements of blues, soul, hard bop and funk thrown into the blender. There's certainly a lot of each on The Other Duke, Swingadelic's warm salute to the late Duke Pearson
Duke Pearson
Duke Pearson
b.1932
piano
, much of which revisits Pearson's soul-drenched charts from the 1960s and 1970s. Best-known among them are "Jeannine," which has become a jazz standard, and the sauntering "Cristo Redentor," named after the celebrated statue of Christ in Corcovado. Pearson wrote all the others save for "Mississippi Dip" (George Andrews), "Duke's Mixture" (Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
1932 - 2013
trumpet
) and "New Time Shuffle" (Joe Sample
Joe Sample
Joe Sample
b.1939
piano
). "Shuffle" first appeared on the album Introducing the Duke Pearson Big Band (Blue Note, 1967), as did "Mississippi Dip."

While Swingadelic barely qualifies as a big band, it coaxes a full-bodied sound from a mini-lineup of two trumpets, two trombones, three saxophones and four-member rhythm section. The band has been together for some years now, performing at dances, parties, fund-raisers, picnics, weddings and other events in the New York City area and beyond, and the experience pays off here, shaping a performance that is assertive and clean. If there's a downside, it lies in the chance that a steady diet of "soul food" may leave some listeners engorged. They should be apprised of what is on the menu before ordering the first course.

Having said that, it should be pointed out that the "food" is certainly well-cooked, as Swingadelic's hard-working chefs do their utmost to garnish Pearson's comestibles with the utmost care. The session opens with the romping boogaloo "Mississippi Dip," arranged by leader / tenor saxophonist Paul Carlon
Paul Carlon
Paul Carlon
b.1968
sax, tenor
, then dispatches some spicy "Chili Peppers" before moving on to "Cristo Redentor" and "Jeannine." Pearson wrote the light-hearted "Big Bertha" (nice muted trumpet by Albert Leusink or Carlos Francis) and ambling "Sweet Honey Bee" (flute solo courtesy of Carlon, electric piano by John Bauers), which precede Byrd's deeply grooved "Mixture." Two more compositions by Pearson, the straight-on "Sudel" and emphatic "Ready Rudy," lead to the robust finale, Sample's "New Time Shuffle." Soloists aren't listed but there are engaging turns by Carlon, Bauers, alto Audrey Welber, baritone Jeff Hackworth
Jeff Hackworth

sax, tenor
, guitarist Boo Reiners and others. Reiners, Bauers, bassist Dave Post and drummer Paul Pizzuti comprise a well-oiled rhythm section.

This is a tribute that Duke Pearson would certainly have appreciated, as will those who admire the singular "Blue Note sound" of the 1960s and 1970s, earnestly re-created by Swingadelic.

Peter Tenner Jazz—Orchester

10117 Berlin

Mons

2010

On 10117 Berlin, the listener is introduced to Peter Tenner's well-endowed Jazz—Orchester by way of Peter Ehwald's unaccompanied soprano saxophone, which bestrides the opening minute of Jerome Kern's "All the Things You Are," the first of Tenner's ten resourceful arrangements. Tenner, who teaches music theory at the Jazz Institute Berlin, also composed half a dozen numbers, and each one is bright, engaging and earnestly performed by the ensemble.

Besides reinvigorating "All the Things You Are," Tenner does much the same for Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
's warhorse "A Night in Tunisia," the Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
1920 - 2002
vocalist
favorite "Fever" (pleasantly sung here by guest artist Jessica Gall) and the German folk song "So trieben wir den Winter aus." His own themes are no less impressive, from the light-hearted "Zuhuuu!," introspective "10117 Berlin" and picturesque "March in Edinburgh" (with its charming echoes of bagpipes) to the peaceful "Lassen," passionate "Choral" and piquant "Filmmusik."


comments powered by Disqus