This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing the San Diego Concert Jazz Band, and it’s a quite respectable community–based group, even though What a Gas! sounds as though it could have been recorded during a rehearsal. Although there is an audience (whose applause is often excised), everything seems rather ad hoc, down to the CD itself which includes a list of songs and soloists but no liner notes or catalog of other personnel. Most “off–the–cuff” is “Woodie’s [Woody’s?] Whistle,” a 12:44 romp with scat solos by a couple of fairly well–known names, bassist Chubby Jackson and his drum–playing son, Duffy (who shows his versatility by soloing on piano and bass as well). Duffy, who shares the drum chair with Dick Lopez, also solos on “And That’s the Way It Is” and “Louie’s Shuffle,” Lopez on the album’s second–longest track (11:08), “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,” whose andante opening and closing statements are sandwiched around an up-tempo midsection with solos by trombonist Jamie Brees, soprano George Kezas and alto Gordie Edgerton. Edgerton, the ensemble’s most persuasive soloist, is featured on “But Beautiful,” “And That’s The Way” and “Angel Eyes,” tenor Carl Janelli on “Strike Up the Band,” “Bluesette” and “Louie’s Shuffle,” trumpeter Steve Ebner on “Close Enough for Love” and “Stapes.” Brees and the group’s co–leader, baritone Barry Farrar, are finger–lickin’ good on “Fried Buzzard.” The SDCJB has recorded eleven times, I’m told. If the other albums are as amiable as this one they’re at least worth checking out.
Track Listing: Strike Up the Band; Close Enough for Love; Fried Buzzard; But Beautiful; Woodie
Personnel: Steve Ebner, trumpet, flugelhorn; George Kezas, alto, soprano sax; Gordie Edgerton, alto sax; Carl Janelli, tenor sax; Barry Farrar, baritone sax; Jamie Brees, trombone; Dick Lopez, Duffy Jackson, drums, bass, piano; Duffy Jackson, Chubby Jackson, scat vocal (