260

Sammy Nestico and the SWR Big Band: Basie-cally Sammy

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Sammy Nestico and the SWR Big Band: Basie-cally Sammy Some people are born to rule, others to serve. Sammy Nestico, it seems, was born to swing. From his early years as chief arranger for the US Air Force Airmen of Note and later for the irrepressible Count Basie Orchestra, Nestico prized swinging above all else, and that's no less true on Basie-cally Sammy, his warmhearted homage to the Count with Germany's superlative SWR Big Band, which marks their second collaboration in as many years. The album swings buoyantly from start to finish, thanks to Nestico's intrepid charts and the SWR's casual mastery of them.

There are a number of old favorites here—classic charts like "Sweet Georgia Brown, "88 Basie Street, "Fancy Pants, "Ja-Da, "The Heat's On, "Satin Doll, "It's a Wonderful World, "How Sweet It Is and "Wind Machine (the last a "bonus track recorded in concert)—and several charming newcomers as well, most notably "Time Stream, "No More, "Li'l Ol' Blue Note, "High Five and "Ain't Nobody Gettin' Younger (even though, at age 81, Nestico doesn't appear to be gettin' any older either). The band gives each one an exhilarating ride, swinging like Basie while sounding like SWR.

The ensemble comes out smokin' on Nestico's "Dimensions in Blue, which I believe was written for the Airmen of Note (if memory serves, it may still be their theme song), and unleashes more of its awesome firepower on the voluptuous "Georgia Brown. After introducing "Georgia," pianist Klaus Wagenleiter, one of a bevy of impressive soloists, is featured on the ambling "88 Basie Street, alto Klaus Graf on "Samantha, tenor Axel Kühn on "No More and "The Heat's On. Trumpeter Don Rader, who has either relocated from Australia or was imported especially for this date, is the flugel soloist on "Satin Doll and is heard again, on trumpet, with Wagenleiter, bassist Decebal Badila, alto Steffen Weber and Kühn (flute) on "How Sweet. Others who step up to the plate and swing for the fences are trombonists Marc Godfroid, Ian Cumming and Ernst Hutter; trumpeters Karl Farrent and Claus Reichstaller; tenor Andi Maile; baritone Pierre Paquette; guitarist Klaus-Peter Schöpfer, and drummer Holger Nell. Schöpfer fills rhythm guitarist Freddie Green's shoes nicely, while Nell has no problem sitting in for Sonny Payne, Butch Miles and Basie's other renowned timekeepers.

This is a dynamic blowing session, one you don't have to love Basie to appreciate. And when Sammy says he hasn't "had this much fun in years, it's a clear indication of his happiness with SWR's respect for his music, not to mention the ensemble's remarkable ability to transcribe it. This is "basie-cally big band jazz with an unequivocal kick, precisely the kind that the irrepressible Kid from Red Bank gave free rein to and ardently endorsed.


Track Listing: Dimensions in Blue; Sweet Georgia Brown; 88 Basie Street; Fancy Pants; Time Stream; No More; Lil Ol Blue Note; High Five; Ja-Da; The Heats On; Samantha; Aint Nobody Gettin Younger; Satin Doll; Its a Wonderful World; How Sweet It Is; Wind Machine (74:53).

Personnel: Sammy Nestico: music director; Felice Civitreale, Claus Reichstaller, Karl Farrent, Rudolf Reindl, Don Rader: trumpet; Klaus Graf: alto sax, clarinet, flute; Steffen Weber: alto sax, flute, alto flute; Axel Khn, Andreas Maile: tenor sax, flute, alto flute; Pierre Paquette: baritone sax; Marc Godfroid, Ernst Hutter, Ian Cumming, Georg Maus: trombone; Klaus- Peter Schpfer: guitar; Klaus Wagenleiter: piano; Decebal Badila: bass; Holger Nell: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Hänssler Classic | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Big Wheel Live" CD/LP/Track Review Big Wheel Live
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "Acceptance" CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Jim Olin
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Come Together" CD/LP/Track Review Come Together
by James Nadal
Published: May 27, 2016
Read "Short Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Short Stories
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Brain//Child" CD/LP/Track Review Brain//Child
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!