How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The personnel roster for Bob Florence's big band does not experience much in the way of change over the years. His musicians are loyal and true. While I'm sure that solid personal relationships, geographical considerations, and other convenient reasons contribute to this stability, we all know that business is business. Especially in Los Angeles. Commitments come in all shapes and sizes. So, why have Florence's band members remained loyal for over twenty years like this?
It's the music.
No other big band arranger and composer does it quite like Bob Florence does. Pyramid entrances by section and by individual, suite-like compositions that pierce the air with vivid memories, dramatic context that puts the listener on the edge of his seat, humorous asides and funny titles: these are the elements that intrigue both the performing artist and the satisfied audience.
With nearly twenty albums to his credit, numerous music awards, and more than 40 years writing unique big band jazz arrangements, one would think that Florence would sit back on his laurels and reminisce.
No way. Creative folks never let up.
This album stands out as one of his best. Florence contributes one solo piano piece with heartfelt charm. Outstanding soloists on the session include Steve Huffsteter, Larry Koonse, Kim Richmond, Carl Saunders, Charlie Loper, Bob McChesney, Alex Iles and Ron Stout. The music flows from effervescent caricatures of jazz days gone by to fiery nights on stage at some contemporary nightspot around town. 'Dukeisms,' a commissioned work, includes five quotes from the Ellington repertoire. The suite runs mellow and warm with a variety of harmonic shades. 'Nerve Endings' and 'Running With Scissors' include a few dramatic moments. At one point, there's a hint of a television sitcom theme that brings a smile. Didn't your mother always tell you not to run with scissors? 'Kissing Bug,' a swinging sensation that features Koonse, is based on the 'I Got Rhythm' chord changes.
This is music for all ages and all tastes. Whatever Bubbles Up tickles the senses as few contemporary big band albums can.
Track Listing: Dukeisms; Nerve Endings; Chelsea Bridge; Kissing Bug; Never Let Me Go; Q&A; Whatever Bubbles
Personnel: Bob Florence- piano; Larry Koonse- guitar; Trey Henry- bass; Dick Weller- drums; Charlie Loper,
Alex Iles, Bob McChesney- trombone; Bryant Byers- bass trombone; Wayne Bergeron, George
Graham, Mike McGuffey, Ron Stout, Steve Huffsteter, Carl Saunders- trumpet, flugelhorn; Kim
Richmond, Don Shelton- soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet; Jeff Driskill, Tom Peterson-
tenor saxophone, clarinet; Bob Efford- baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Bob Carr- baritone
saxophone, E-flat contra-alto clarinet.