The title of this album, Worth The Wait, is a specific reference for these two old pals, drummer Peter Erskine and trumpeter Tim Hagans, to join in one recording session with the Norrbotten Big Band. The origin of the title dates back to a 1974 musical meeting when Erskine was the drummer for the Stan Kenton Orchestra and Hagans was appearing for his first gig with the band in a Zanesville, Ohio roller rink. Hagans was seated directly behind the drum set and learned the mechanics of Big Band Drumming 101 from Erskine. By the time that Hagans was on his feet playing solos, Erskine had already departed.
In 1996, Tim Hagans accepted the title of artistic director of this Swedish big band, whose mission was to perform original music and whose special guests have already included Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Toots Thielemans, Tomasz Stanko and, now, Peter Erskine. Erskine's four compositions are joined by Hagans' three, with arrangements provided by Hagans or pianist Bill Dobbins. The music was recorded live in concert at the Kulturcentrum Ebeneser in Lulea, Sweden.
The title tune, which opens the album, is typical of the session: lengthy, at almost eleven minutes, and played with great gusto and solo expression. Altoist Johan Horlen rips through a boppish statement, followed by Erskine, who puts on a show with his hands, feet and mind. Pianist Daniel Tilling gets in a fine upbeat solo and then trumpeter Dan Johansson displays his swinging ability. On "You Should See My Office," the brass and sax sections are featured. First, tenor saxophonist Mats Garberg takes a most impressive flight, immediately followed by Hagans, who enter with a high pitched trumpet solo, the piece concluding with Erskine's skillful big band drumming.
Subsequent compositions and the performance of the band show great variety of both subtlety and big band swing. On Hagans' "Scotland, Africa" the opening interleaves the rhythms of both of these cultures, with guitarist Ola Bengtsson providing a Wes Montgomery demonstration. On "Reason to Believe," the guitarist is given the opportunity for another sparkling solo.
Hagans has learned quite a bit about the art of big band arranging and performance from his apprenticeship with the Kenton organization, as well as his own Blue Note albums. Erskine brings a deep resume to the table that shows the skills learned from his days as drummer/percussionist for Weather Report and countless sessions since.
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Personnel: Tim Hagans: conductor, trumpet; Peter Erskine: drums; Hakan Brostrom: saxophone; John Horlen: saxophone; Mats Garberg: saxophone; Bengt Ek: saxophone; Per Moberg: saxophone; P-O Svanstrom: trombone; Magnus Puls: trombone; Peter Dahlgren: trombone; Bjorn Hangsel: bass trombone; Bo Stranberg: trumpet; Dan Johansson: trumpet; Magnus Ekholm: trumpet; Tapio Maunuvaara: trumpet; Daniel Tilling: piano; Ola Bengtsson: guitar; Martin Sjostedt: bass.