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

Nova Jazz Orchestra / Christian McBride Big Band / NYJO

By Published: March 5, 2012
For synchronized trombones at their charming best, it's hard to beat the sunny opener, "Samba de Mogan," even though the "band" comes close elsewhere, especially on "Low Motion" (showcasing Luis' low-register dexterity), "You Make Me Feel So Young," "Six-Pack," "3 Kolsche" and the fugue-like "Ithaca Stomp." Luis' sonorous bass trombone is front and center on "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "All of Me," silhouetted on the last against muted and open "sections" and a quasi-waltz that accentuate the song's inherent swing. Yet another in an unbroken series of highlights, followed in turn by the funky "Needless to Say" whose snappy bass solo is delivered courtesy of Goldsby. An album for those who love trombones in single, double or multiple array, or who simply appreciate well-played music no matter what instruments are in the forefront.

UNI Jazz Band One

Let Go

Self Published


Let Go is the nineteenth album recorded over the past two decades by the University of Northern Iowa's Jazz Band One—the last nine under director Chris Merz—and the superb musicians keep on coming. While there is no way to envision how many of these talented young students may pursue careers as professional musicians, the fact is that they could change the group's name from Jazz Band One to Pro Band Whatever and almost no one would notice the difference. Yes, they are that good, right up there with North Texas, Miami, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Northern Illinois, Cincinnati, North Florida, Northern Colorado and other notable university-level ensembles.

The program consists of nine original compositions, four of which were recorded in concert, the others in UNI's Jazz Studio. The band nails every one of them, astutely mastering every nuance and swinging with abandon whenever Merz loosens the reins and digs in the spurs, as he does on Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
's frisky "Tetragon," Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams
1910 - 1981
' dance-oriented "Camel Hop," Jeff Holmes' late-model "Hindsight Foresight" and his own lively "Incident @ Perkins." A special guest, the award-winning pianist David Berkman, wrote and arranged the good-natured "Simple Pleasures," on which he solos charmingly with bassist Brooke Peters and tenor saxophonist Nolan Schroeder. Rounding out the menu are Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler
's playful "Foxy Trot," Rick Hirsch
Rick Hirsch
Rick Hirsch
's picturesque "City in the Window," Mike Conrad's dreamy "Could've Been" and Peter Roberts' euphonic "Let Go," the last including a three-member string section.

Besides performing admirably as a unit, Jazz Band One has a number of splendid soloists, one of the more engaging of which is pianist Jon Snell who solos on "Incident" and "Could've Been." Noah Alvarado is featured on flugelhorn ("Foxy Trot") and trumpet ("Let Go"), while Robert Espe shows his versatility by soloing on clarinet ("Camel Hop"), soprano sax ("Could've Been") and tenor ("Hindsight, " "Incident"). Others heard to good advantage are altos Gabe Scheid and Sam Petersen, trombonist Mike Conrad and drummer Cory Healey ("Tetragon"), Petersen (soprano ) and guitarist Eric Atchison ("City in the Window"), trombonist Jon Mallak ("Incident"), Alvarado (trumpet) and Schroeder ("Camel Hop"). For those who may wish to know, "City in the Window," "Camel Hop," "Simple Pleasures" and "Let Go" were recorded in front of an audience.

Let Go is clearly another triumph for UNI's impressive Jazz Band One, much of the credit for which must go to Merz who has kept the Jazz Studies program on an upward course since he replaced its founder, Bob Washut, nearly a decade ago. If the past is a reliable measuring stick, another exemplary album by the UNI Jazz Band One should be available in another year or so.

Tracks and Personnel

Who Sez You Can't Dance to Bebop?

Tracks: Who Sez You Can't Dance to Bebop? (Bailas Bebop?); Expedition; That's How I Know; To the Source; Meresque; Having Built in Deeper Water; The Reincarnation of Queen Irene; Ruya's Dream; Chasin' the Dolphin; Expecting Tom Boogie.

Personnel: John Ahern: artistic director, lead trumpet; Mike Krikava, leader, baritone sax, bass clarinet; Tim Martin: trumpet; Sten A. Johnson: trumpet; Graham Martin: trumpet; Bob Byers: alto, soprano sax, flute; Kari Musil: alto sax, flute, clarinet; Bill Burton: tenor, bass sax, clarinet; Paul Peterson, tenor, baritone sax, flute, clarinet; Mike Larson: trombone; Chris Wiley: trombone; Craig Lawless: trombone; Ike Wagner: bass trombone; Bruce Pedalty: piano; John Hyvarinen: guitar; Pete Karstad: bass; Dave Perry: drums. Special guests—Sten M. Johnson: tenor sax solo (1); Michelle Kinney: cello solo (7).

The Good Feeling

Tracks: Shake 'n Blake; Broadway; Brother Mister; When I Fall in Love; Science Fiction; The Shade of the Cedar Tree; The More I See You; I Should Care; A Taste of Honey; Bluesin' in Alphabet City; In a Hurry.

comments powered by Disqus