How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
In reviewing an earlier album by Tony Corbiscello's New York-area big band ( In Full Swing , Alanna 5581), I wrote that "the band is squarely on top of every assignment, and Corbiscello is an admirable big-band drummer who never lets the momentum wane.... [the] ensemble reminds me of a less jazz-oriented version of the Lew Anderson Big Band, which also makes its home in New York City." Real Time offers essentially more of the same, with at least one notable enhancementthe presence of straight-shooting swinger Harry Allen whose irrepressible tenor saxophone enlivens "Let's Fall in Love," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and a Marion Evans original, "Bossa Margherita."
There's a touch more improvisation this time around with brief but earnest statements by tenors Marc Phaneuf (who for some reason isn't listed among the personnel) and Jim Perry, trumpeter Danny Cahn, clarinetist Alain Gauvin, trombonist Harvey Tibbs, bass trombonist Matt Ingman and guitarist James Chirillo, among others. Guest guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli is featured with trombonist Steve Bliefuss on Ellington's "In a Mellow Tone," lead trumpeter Dave Stahl on Perry's handsome arrangement of "If We Never Said Goodbye." As one would expect from a band whose cardinal purpose is to persuade an audience to dance, the program leans toward familiar numbers from the Great American Songbooka dozen in all including the two Ellington tunescomplemented by the lesser-known "Goodbye" and "You'd Better Love Me" and a pair by Evans, the aforementioned "Bossa Margherita" and "Putter'n Around," a sunny vehicle for Corbiscello's deft brushwork that sounds much like a Louie Bellson showpiece. Cahn is front and center on "I Got It Bad" and "Easy Street," Gauvin on "Moonglow," "I Cried for You" and "The Lady Is a Tramp," Perry on "You're My Thrill," Chirillo on "Blue Moon" and (uncredited) "Putter'n Around."
The charts, by Evans, Perry, Bliefuss, Dick Lieb, Al Cohn, Walt Levinsky and Don Costa, are first-rate, as is the ensemble. Keep in mind, however, that they are aimed primarily toward dancers, not those who prefer their big-band jazz multi-layered and multi-chromatic. For what they are, they are quite admirable. The sound is splendid, the playing time less so at slightly under fifty minutes.
A generally easygoing yet pleasurable session for admirers of such "dance/jazz" bands as Les Brown, Ray Anthony, Ralph Flanagan, the Elgart brothers, Ted Heath and their cousins.
Track Listing: You'd Better Love Me; A Beautiful Friendship; Moonglow; The Lady's in Love with You; Bossa Margherita; I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good; Putter'n Around; I Cried for You; Easy Street; Let's Fall in Love; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; As If We Never Said Goodbye; Blue Moon; The Lady Is a Tramp; You're My Thrill; In a Mellow Tone (47:58).
Personnel: Tony Corbiscello, leader, drums; Dave Stahl, Danny Cahn, John Eckert, Patrick Rickman, trumpet; Steve Bleifuss, Harvey Tibbs, trombone; Matt Ingman, bass trombone; Alan Gauvin, Mark Gross, alto sax; Doug Lawrence, Jim Perry, Harry Allen, tenor sax; John Zemba, baritone sax; Ben Aronov, Isaac Ben Ayala, Mike Capobianco, piano; Bucky Pizzarelli, James Chirillo, guitar; Jerry Bruno, Wayne Roberts, bass; Tom Swift, percussion.