Although everything is well–played (despite generally low–grade sound quality), there isn’t much of interest to the Jazz enthusiast in this hour–long recital by the various Cal Poly ensembles aside from the three selections (“Ain’t It Wonderful,” “Cat Race,” “Purple Porpoise Parkway”) recorded by the University Jazz Band. The larger Mustang Band does include among its five brief numbers Chuck Mangione’s “Echano,” but this is more a concert piece than Jazz composition. As for the Jazz Band, it fares respectably well on the two selections by highly regarded composer/arranger Tom Kubis (“Wonderful,” “Parkway”) and Toshio Mashima’s “Cat Race” even while suffering, as so many ensembles at this level do, from an absence of capable soloists — some of whom sound as if they’d been pressed into service from the Wind Orchestra or Mustang Band. And like its symphonic counterparts, the Jazz Band isn’t helped by a generally muddy and diffuse “concert hall” sound that seems to dampen its vigor and fidelity. As an indication of the status of Cal Poly’s contemporary music program, 12 Seconds to the Moon is undoubtedly worthwhile; beyond that, there isn’t much to say.
Track listing: Centennial Celebration Overture; Ghost Train; Over the Hills and Far Away; Symphony on Themes of John Philip Sousa; Twelve Seconds to the Moon; Ain’t It Wonderful?; Car Race; On Purple Porpoise Parkway; George; Ride High You Mustangs; Echano; Time Warp; Hey, Baby (60:30).
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