In a period when many new recordings feature trios, quartets or other small ensembles, it's refreshing when a full-size orchestra comes along. Pianist, composer and arranger Earl MacDonald offers that refreshment with Re:VisionsWorks for Jazz Orchestra.
MacDonald is a native of Winnipeg, Canada and director of jazz studies at the University of Connecticut. A winner of several awards, MacDonald spent two years as musical director, pianist and arranger for the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Nouveau Band. He composed six of the nine selections on Re:Visions, for a 17-piece ensemble that's conducted by Mike Holober
One of the covers is "Friday Night at the Cadillac Club," a swinging, blues-jazz piece. The brass carry the lead in a brilliant fashion. The syncopation between the trumpets and the drums is tight. Solos are by guitarist Pete McCann
The constants throughout Re:Visions are MacDonald's arrangements and his piano play. However, the beauty of this collection is the diversity of talent. The songs vary not only in composition, but also in the different voices by the soloists.
Track Listing: Friday Night at the Cadillac Club; Mr. Sunshine; Measuring Up; Bad Dream; Joshua; Woody 'n You; Character Defect; Bu Who; Jana's Song.
Personnel: Earl MacDonald: piano; Tim Ries: lead alto and soprano saxophones, flute; Mark Phaneuf: alto sax, flute, clarinet; Ralph Bowen: tenor sax, flute; Jim Brenan: tenor sax, clarinet; Steve Kenyon: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Nick Marchione: lead trumpet; Michael Philip Mossman: associate lead trumpet; Pete Rodriguez: trumpet; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet; Bruce Eidem: lead trombone; Craig Brenan: trombone; Mark Patterson: trombone; Douglas Purviance: bass trombone; Pete McCann: guitar; Kenny Davis: string bass; Jordon Perlson: drums; Mike Holober: conductor.