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Big Band Caravan

Bob Mintzer Big Band / Bob Wilber and the Tuxedo Big Band / Joe Chambers Moving Pictures Orchestra

By Published: October 7, 2012
What is immediately apparent is that Wilber has an unerring ear for an engaging melody and a similarly precise awareness of suitable tempo. His charts are sharp and breezy, designed to encourage faces to smile and toes to tap, starting with Willie "The Lion" Smith's assertive "Rampage!" and continuing through "Puggles," a light-hearted blues inspired by Wilber's wife, Pug. In between are Wilber's charming tributes to a hotel ("Century Plaza"), a valley in Arizona ("Paradise Valley"), a former colleague, tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman
Bud Freeman
Bud Freeman
1906 - 1991
sax, tenor
("Freeman's Way") and the Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
1915 - 1998
vocalist
/ Nelson Riddle
Nelson Riddle
1921 - 1985
arranger
collaborations ("The Tender Ways of Love"). These are in addition to Strayhorn's "U.M.M.G," Sidney Bechet
Sidney Bechet
Sidney Bechet
1897 - 1959
sax, soprano
's "The Ghost of the Blues," Fats Waller
Fats Waller
Fats Waller
1904 - 1943
piano
's "How Can You Face Me?" and three more seductive pieces by Wilber: "Please Clarify" (written especially for the clarinet and inspired by Mel Powell
Mel Powell
b.1923
's "Clarinade"), the graceful "Chasin' the Riff" and the pastoral ballad "Dreaming Butterfly."

Wilber solos on most numbers and betrays no evidence of decline, playing each instrument with an unflagging energy and enthusiasm that belie his age. Even though the TBB soloists are unnamed, they are quite good, and undoubtedly include alto Cheron, pianist Didier Datcharry, bassist Pierre-Luc Puig, drummer Guillaume Nouaux and guitarist Henri Cheron. The band's two tenors, Francois Penot and Stephane Barbier, solo smartly with an unlisted trumpeter on "Freeman's Way" and one of them is heard again on "Puggles." As a unit, the ensemble summons memories of another topnotch big band from France, that one led by pianist Claude Bolling. The cover design is tasteful, as are the liner notes by Dan Morgenstern. For those who appreciate big-band jazz that nods without apology toward the wondrous Swing Era, Rampage! comes with a "can't-miss" label affixed.

Joe Chambers Moving Pictures Orchestra

Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

Savant Records

2012

Joe Chambers
Joe Chambers
Joe Chambers
b.1942
drums
, widely known as a drum-kit mainstay for celebrated artists from Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
1937 - 2007
piano
to Bobby Hutcherson
Bobby Hutcherson
Bobby Hutcherson
b.1941
vibraphone
and Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
, Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
1938 - 2008
trumpet
to Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
and McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
b.1938
piano
, spreads his compositional wings on Live at Dizzy's, shepherding his seventeen-member Moving Pictures Orchestra through a buoyant and colorful program that opens and closes with Chambers' ambitious five-part, four-movement "Moving Pictures Suite," commissioned in 2003 by Jazz at Lincoln Center. It's the capstone of a live session that includes the leader's mid-tempo charmer, "Tu-Way Pock-e-Way," Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
's intricate "Power to the People," Count Basie
Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano
's sauntering "Theme from M Squad" (more laid-back than the original) and a pair of engaging compositions by drummer Max Roach
Max Roach
Max Roach
1925 - 2007
drums
, "Lonesome Lover" and "Mendacity," both capably sung by Nicole Guiland whose pleasing voice makes up for occasional lapses in intonation, especially on "Mendacity."

While there seems to be no reason why the Afro-Cuban "Clave de Bembe, Part 1" opens in the middle of trumpeter David Weiss
David Weiss
David Weiss
b.1964
trumpet
' solo (no mention of that is made in the liner notes), what remains is splendid, consisting largely of a virile manifesto by percussionist Steve Berrios
Steve Berrios
Steve Berrios

percussion
, which precedes nimble solos by pianist Xavier Davis
Xavier Davis
Xavier Davis

piano
and bassist Dwayne Burno
Dwayne Burno
Dwayne Burno
1970 - 2013
bass
. Part 1 segues seamlessly into Part 2 whose principal soloist is Davis, deftly supported by Berrios, Burno and Chambers. The album opens with the Suite's first three movements: the soulful "Prelude" (solos by trumpeter Josh Evans
Josh Evans
Josh Evans

trumpet
and alto Tim Green
Tim Green
Tim Green

piano
), the robust "Irina" (with Green, Chambers and trumpeter Greg Gisbert having their say) and even-tempered "Ruth" (Burno, Davis, Chambers on vibraphone). Craig Handy
Craig Handy
Craig Handy
b.1962
saxophone
solos persuasively on soprano (with Green and trombonist Conrad Herwig
Conrad Herwig
Conrad Herwig
b.1959
trombone
) on "Power to the People," and on tenor (with trumpeter Weiss) on "M Squad." A second tenor, Sam Dillon, reinforces Guiland on "Lonesome Lover" and "Mendacity." Baritone Frank Basile
Frank Basile
Frank Basile
b.1978
sax, baritone
and trombonist Steve Davis
Steve Davis
Steve Davis
b.1967
trombone
frame engaging solos on "Tu-Way Pock-e-Way."


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