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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Lark and His Alumni Big Band: Sweet Return

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As was the case two years ago (2012) with its first album, Reunion, trumpeter Bob Lark's Alumni Big Band on Sweet Return is comprised of musicians he has supervised in various groups during a long and eminent career that embodies more than twenty years as director of Jazz Studies at DePaul University in Chicago. Even so, this isn't quite the same band as before; while more than a dozen sidemen from Reunion have returned to lend a hand, there's a new lead alto (Randy Hamm) and baritone (Mark Hiebert), Glenn Kostur has moved from tenor sax to alto and pianist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Lark and his Alumni Big Band: Sweet Return

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Trumpeter/educator and big band leader Bob Lark, reunites his Alumni Big Band after their critically acclaimed debut Reunion (Jazzed Media 2012), produced some of the best Jazz orchestrations in the business. Sweet Return is the group's encore performance, their return engagement, their audacious follow up and another masterful stroke by leader Lark. This Alumni band is comprised of eighteen players that the trumpeter has directed throughout his nearly thirty years as a band leader and draws on their talents for the fresh new arrangements and original compositions that make this return so sweet. The music starts swinging right ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Lark and his Alumni Big Band: Reunion

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Veteran jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn master Dr. Bob Lark has directed many big bands in more than 20 years as Director of Jazz Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. With Reunion, Lark reunites 22 musicians from those bands as his Alumni Big Band, debuting the group on a monster collection of powerful orchestrations. While the teacher provides the eleven original pieces, the class assignment was to pen the arrangements, as six of the alumni do so well here.Saxophonists Jon Irabagon and Ted Hogarth, and drummers Dana Hall (Terrell Stafford) and Bob Rummage (Rob Parton's Jazztech Big Band ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Lark and Friends: Cathy's Song

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Trumpeter Bob Lark's “friends," on his fourth album for Jazzed Media Records, include alto saxophonist Phil Woods (two tracks), pianist Jim McNeely and bassist Rufus Reid (four apiece). There's a six-member string section on three numbers, on which Lark's flugelhorn is the only horn, while the selections with McNeely and Reid are scored for trio with Lark on flugel for three, and muted trumpet on “Green Dolphin Street," a conspicuous salute to Miles Davis on which Lark briefly bends the melody, something that really isn't necessary when the melody is among the loveliest ever written. But that's a scant reproach ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bob Lark / Phil Woods Quintet: Live at the Jazz Showcase

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The order of names on this superb in-concert CD could have gone either way. On the one hand, four-fifths of the quintet is actually the Phil Woods Quartet; on the other, trumpeter Bob Lark, who shares the front line for a second time with alto saxophonist Woods (their 2006 collaboration for Jazzed Media was In Her Eyes), wrote the first three of the album's seven selections, which clearly gives him a leg up. Maybe in the end they flipped a coin, or played rock-paper-scissors, and when neither of those ventures worked as planned, decided to align themselves in alphabetical order. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet: Live at the Jazz Showcase

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Trumpeter and educator Dr. Bob Lark, who directs the DePaul University Jazz ensemble, has had a long musical association with the great alto saxophone master Phil Woods. This resulted in several performances and recordings with both the University Ensemble and their own working quintet. In May of 2006, Woods came to Chicago to celebrate the release of the first Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet album In Her Eyes (Jazzed Media 2006). Woods also completed a weekend gig at Chicago's world famous Jazz Showcase where along with Lark (who here performs on the flugelhorn), Jim McNeely (long-time pianist for Woods), bassist Steve ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Lark and Friends: Suggestions

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If you've not heard of trumpeter Bob Lark, that's probably because he spends much of his time supervising the admirable Jazz Studies program at Chicago's DePaul University. In his spare time, Lark often sits in with some of the Windy City's leading ensembles and has recorded three albums under his own name, including this consistently impressive studio session, his second for the Jazzed Media label.

Unlike In Her Eyes, his quintet date from a 2006, Lark isn't backed on Suggestions by the Phil Woods Quartet, but not to worry--the sidemen he has chosen are exemplary, starting with world-renowned pianist Jim ...



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