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Big Band Report

Pointing Fingers... And Naming Names

By Published: May 4, 2013
After listening, the inescapable conclusion is that Hofstra is fortunate to have someone of Lalama's remarkable talent on the faculty (as well as lead trumpeter Leon Petruzzi, bassist Pete Coco and drummer Tony Tedesco, all of whom are members of the band). Joining them are former faculty members Dave Pietro
Dave Pietro
Dave Pietro

saxophone
on alto sax and Jeff Lange on baritone, alumni John Marshall (tenor sax), Mike Rubenstein (trumpet), Justin Comito (bass trombone) and (we presume) undergrad Brent Chiarello (trombone). Besides Ralph Lalama
Ralph Lalama
Ralph Lalama
b.1951
saxophone
, the "guests" (that is to say, those not named in the liner notes as faculty or alumni) include trumpeters Glenn Drewes, Nathan Warner and Mike Carubia; trombonists John Mosca and Joey Devassy, and alto Jonathan Holford, some of whom may be faculty members, alumni or both.

On to the music, starting with Dave's Thad Jones
Thad Jones
Thad Jones
1923 - 1986
trumpet
/ Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
1929 - 1990
drums
-style flag-waver, "Full House," which showcases, in order, saxophonists Lange, Holford, Marshall and Ralph Lalama at their blazing best. Jimmy McHugh's ballad "Where Are You" is recast into a bright samba whose soloists are Mosca, Carubia (flugel), Pietro (soprano) and Dave Lalama. Sandwiched between Dave's second composition, "No Evidence" (a fusion of the standard "There Is No Greater Love" and Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's "Evidence") and his third, the sunny calypso "St. Thelonious," are time-honored classics by Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
("Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
's Sound of Love"), Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
("Inner Urge"), Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
("Pent-Up House") and James Moody
James Moody
James Moody
1925 - 2010
reeds
("Moody's Mood for Love," on which brass and winds swap graceful solis). Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
1922 - 1960
bass
's buoyant "Tricotism," a vehicle for bassist Coco (and the trombone section), is dedicated to the memory of Coco's teacher at Hofstra, the late Robert Bowen III, while the mercurial "The Song Isn't You" was written by Dave Lalama for the Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
1917 - 1987
drums
Band as a showpiece for brother Ralph and trumpeter Drewes who step forward to reprise their original starring roles.

Lange's lyrical baritone is front and center on Jimmy Rowles
Jimmy Rowles
Jimmy Rowles
1918 - 1996
piano
' ballad "The Peacocks," Chiarello's supple trombone and Pietro's burnished alto on Lalama's groovy "Blues For . . ." The session ends on a salutary note with Lalama's picturesque "Evansville," a ""bonus track" earmarked as an "expression of gratitude" to Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
on which Dave's shimmering piano is the focal point. It's a splendid way to wrap up a superlative album, one that pleases from start to finish, thanks to Dave Lalama, the Hofstra faculty and alumni, and their invited guests (not least brother Ralph).

Joe Clark Big Band
Lush
Jazzed Media
2013

Add Joe Clark
Joe Clark
Joe Clark
b.1986
composer/conductor
's name to a growing line-up of bandleaders who are enlivening the music scene in Chicago that already includes Rob Parton, Orbert Davis
Orbert Davis
Orbert Davis
b.1960
trumpet
, Tom Matta, Bill O'Connell
Bill O'Connell
Bill O'Connell

arranger
, Ted Hogarth, Bob Lark
Bob Lark
Bob Lark
b.1958
trumpet
and Dick Reynolds (whose new album is reviewed below). DePaul University alumnus Clark's debut recording is further enhanced by the presence of guest artist Jeff Hamilton
Jeff Hamilton
Jeff Hamilton
b.1953
drums
at the drum set, a clear-cut advantage for any band.

Clark, who also plays trumpet (and solos persuasively on the ballad "Tenderly"), wrote three of the album's eight numbers and arranged all of them including Hamilton's sunny "Samba de Martelo," on which the guest star shines most brightly. Needless to say, the band is well-rehearsed and ready for any challenge, starting with Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's "Well You Needn't," which lopes along to a New Orleans-style beat behind crisp solos by Hamilton, baritone saxophonist Mark Hiebert and trumpeter Victor Garcia. "Samba de Martelo" is preceded by Clark's portentous "Red Sky" and Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
1915 - 1967
piano
's plaintive "Lush Life," the last a showcase for tenor Chris Madsen with support from pianist Ryan Cohan
Ryan Cohan
Ryan Cohan
b.1971
piano
. Guitarist Mike Pinto adds his solo voice to that of Hamilton's on "Samba."

Clark's "Free-Wheeling" is a strapping swinger with solos to match by Garcia, muted trombonist Bryant Scott and tenor Frank Anthony Bruno
Frank Anthony Bruno
b.1956
bass, electric
, "Femme Fatale" an easygoing charmer with eloquent statements by Cohan and alto Dan Nicholson. The seductive studio session ends with "Yesterday's Gardenias," a seldom-heard melody (reminiscent of "It's You or No One") that should be heard more often, whose well-knit solos are delivered courtesy of Nicholson, trumpeter BJ Cord and trombonist Tom Garling. In an area of the country that is suddenly awash in blue-chip big bands, Joe Clark has interposed an emphatic new voice that should be heard.

Dick Reynolds
Music & Friends
Origin
2013


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