All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

New Zealand School of Music Big Band: Awright Awright

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
It's hard to believe this is a school band, no matter what the level. Music director Rodger Fox, a seasoned trombonist who leads his own play-for-pay band, must be extremely pleased and proud of what his students at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington have accomplished, as their third album, Awright Awright, is superlative from start to finish. The first five numbers, in fact, offer a textbook lesson in how big-band jazz should feel and sound. The ensemble is solid, the rhythm section sharp, the soloists aggressive and engaging.

That's not to imply that things go downhill afterward. While the band continues its winning ways, the ebullient mood is tempered on Tracks 6-8 by the appearance of vocalist Deanne Krieg who clearly has talent but whose endowments are negligible on Leonard Feather's "Baby Get Lost," the shopworn standard "Teach Me Tonight" and Gene Krupa's "Boogie Blues." Perhaps that can be ascribed in part to the unimpressive choice of material. The band responds with a flourish, however, on Bronislau Kaper's memorable "Green Dolphin Street" and the funky finale, "Awright Awright," whose opening measures call to mind Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia" and whose quirky character is underscored by Ashton Sellars' "talking guitar."

As noted, the first half of the album is exemplary, consisting of charming original compositions by Oscar Pettiford ("Blues in the Closet"), Victor Feldman ("The Chant"), Freddie Hubbard ("Red Clay"), Charlie Parker ("Yardbird Suite") and Bob Mintzer ("Easy Groove"). Tenor Akane Murata, one of two women in the saxophone section, solos with trombonist Kaito Walley on "Closet" and with trumpeter Michael Costeloe on "Red Clay." The other, alto Eilish Wilson, shares blowing space with trombonist Cameron Kidby on "Boogie Blues." Each is admirable, as are pianist Kristin Finnerty ("The Chant," "Green Dolphin Street"), tenor Shaan Singh ("The Chant," "Easy Groove"), guitarist Conway Jeune ("The Chant," "Baby Get Lost," "Teach Me Tonight," "Green Dolphin Street"), alto Bryn van Vliet ("Green Dolphin Street") and baritone Oscar Laven ("Awright Awright"). Drummers Cory Champion or Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa anchor the wide-awake rhythm section.

The hope is that these talented young men and women can find ways to keep on playing once their school days are behind them. Meanwhile, they have produced another album that is emphatically more than Awright. Keep doing what you're doing, Rodger.

Track Listing: Blues in the Closet; The Chant; Red Clay; Yardbird Suite; Easy Groove; Baby Get Lost; Teach Me Tonight; Boogie Blues; On Green Dolphin Street; Awright Awright.

Personnel: Rodger Fox: music director; Mike Booth: trumpet; Michael Costeloe: trumpet; Daniel Windsor: trumpet; Chris Selley: trumpet; Bryn van Vliet: alto sax; Eilish Wilson: alto sax; Akane Murata: tenor sax; Shaan Singh: tenor sax; Oscar Laven: baritone sax; Cameron Kidby: trombone; Kaito Walley: trombone; Sean Tickle: trombone; Kristin Finnerty: keyboards; Ashton Sellars: guitar (1, 4, 5, 8, 10); Conway Jeune: guitar (2, 3, 6, 7, 9); Bede Arbuckle: bass; Cory Champion: drums (1-3, 7, 8); Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa: drums (4-6, 9, 10); Deanne Krieg: vocals (6-8).

Title: Awright Awright | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Nzsm Jazz

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Concerti

Concerti

Rattle Records (New Zealand)
2015

buy
Awright Awright

Awright Awright

Nzsm Jazz
2014

buy
 

Ain't That the Truth

T-Bones Records
2000

buy
 

Xtra Juicy

T-Bones Records
1999

buy

Related Articles

Read Uplift The People CD/LP/Track Review
Uplift The People
by John Sharpe
Published: August 21, 2018
Read A New Shade Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review
A New Shade Of Blue
by Chris May
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Rabbits on the Run CD/LP/Track Review
Rabbits on the Run
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Imaginary Numbers CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Numbers
by John Sharpe
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Point Blank CD/LP/Track Review
Point Blank
by Chris May
Published: August 20, 2018
Read Tell Me The Truth CD/LP/Track Review
Tell Me The Truth
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 20, 2018
Read "No One Ever Tells You" CD/LP/Track Review No One Ever Tells You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 15, 2018
Read "The View from Here" CD/LP/Track Review The View from Here
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 12, 2018
Read "Jersey" CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Jazz Triangle 65-77" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Triangle 65-77
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Common Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Common Ground
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "On the Road" CD/LP/Track Review On the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 7, 2018