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Big Band Caravan

Darmstadter Big Band / Alon Yavnai–NDR Big Band / Red Bank Jazz Orchestra

By Published: June 6, 2012
It's clear from the outset that rhythm is at the heart of everything Yavnai writes, and there's more than a dash of Middle Eastern flavor seasoning "Bitter Roots," "Zriha" and "Ilha b'nit," each of which is a rhythmic and harmonic pleasure. When Yavnai changes pace, as he does on "Au Castagney" and "Sof" (each tastefully introduced by his unaccompanied piano), the outcome is no less rewarding. Yavnai's graceful piano also launches "Shir Ahava," a contemporary rhapsody whose Middle Eastern provenance is less conspicuous. The handsome solos are by Yavnai, Burkhardt, Buchner (tenor) and flutist Fiete Felsch. Trombonist Dan Gottshall is showcased on "Zriha," while Felsch, trumpeter Reiner Winterschladen and guitarist Sandra Hempel have their say on "Au Castagney," Felsch and baritone Frank Delle on "Bitter Roots," Yavnai, Felsch and Buchner (clarinet) on "Ilha b'nit" (whose closing shout chorus resonantly prefaces the tranquil "Sof").

Alon Yavnai is an exemplary pianist, composer and arranger, the NDR Big Band a world-class ensemble, and together they have produced an uncommonly invigorating and impressive album, one that should please any partisan of superlative big-band jazz.

Red Bank Jazz Orchestra

Strike Up the Band!

Hip City Jazz

2012

Red Bank, NJ, is best known as the birthplace of "the Kid from Red Bank," a.k.a. the legendary William "Count" Basie, one of the most influential bandleaders of the Swing Era and beyond. The city is now home to the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, which upholds the Basie tradition in grand style on its debut recording, Strike Up the Band! It helps, of course, to have an artistic director as renowned as Joe Muccioli
Joe Muccioli
Joe Muccioli
b.1956
composer/conductor
, who was able in 2006 to assemble an A-list of first-call musicians from the greater New York City area to form the RBJO. Besides being top-tier sidemen, these gentlemen know their Basie, and it shows. They even form a charming vocal "chorus" on the timeworn "Baby Won't You Please Come Home," nimbly adding counterpoint to James Chirillo's rhythmic banjo.

Naturally, Basie / Neal Hefti
Neal Hefti
Neal Hefti
1922 - 2008
trumpet
's "The Kid from Red Bank" is on the enticing menu, along with the Count's iconic theme, "One O'Clock Jump," and songs from the libraries of the Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
, Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
b.1933
producer
, Tommy Dorsey
Tommy Dorsey
Tommy Dorsey
1905 - 1956
trombone
and Thad Jones
Thad Jones
Thad Jones
1923 - 1986
trumpet
/ Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
1929 - 1990
drums
orchestras. Ellington is represented by "Such Sweet Thunder" and "The Mooche," Quincy Jones by "Moanin,'" Dorsey by "I'll Never Smile Again" (featuring Wayne Goodman's muted trombone), Jones / Lewis by Thad's brassy anthem, "Us." The RBJO employs a trio of guest vocalists including Joe Piscopo, best known as a comedian, who sits in for the incomparable Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
1915 - 1998
vocalist
on one of Old Blue Eyes' swinging hits, "Come Fly with Me." Piscopo actually sings better than might be expected; on the other hand, there was only one Frank Sinatra, and Piscopo flies well below Frank's rarefied cruising range. Champian Fulton
Champian Fulton
Champian Fulton
b.1985
piano
(that's a she) is bright and engaging on Benny Carter
Benny Carter
Benny Carter
1907 - 2003
sax, alto
's blistering arrangement of "After You've Gone," Tony DeSare the same on Frank Loesser's "I Believe in You."

The lively opener, "Strike Up the Band," also from the Basie book, encompasses the first of three clear-headed solos by tenor saxophonist Dan Block. Trumpeter Shawn Edmonds is showcased on "Such Sweet Thunder," alto Andy Farber
Andy Farber
Andy Farber
b.1969
composer/conductor
on a Basie-like reading of "Baby Won't You Please Come Home," soprano Bruce Williams on Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," pianist Steve Meashey on "The Kid from Red Bank." Block, Goodman and trumpeter Brian Pareschi Big Band share solo honors on "The Mooche," Pareschi, Ashe and Williams on "Moanin,'" Pareschi, trumpeter Irv Grossman and trombonist Dion Tucker on "One O'Clock Jump."

: Thanks to the RBJO, the big-band flame lit so many years ago by Basie continues to burn brightly in the maestro's hometown. Muccioli has chosen wisely his musicians and material, giving rise to a bracing studio session that embodies more than a touch of Basie in its high-spirited approach to traditional big-band jazz.

Landes Jugend Jazz Orchester Bayern

Wie Heisst der Typ?

Self Published

2012


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