216

The Des Moines Big Band: Being There

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
This is the third recording we’ve heard by the splendid Des Moines Big Band, now in its forty–first year, and each of them has featured a talented guest artist: first, trumpeter Bobby Shew; next, DSMBB director Jim Oatts’ New York–based brother, saxophonist Dick Oatts; and now trumpeter Walter White who composed half of the ten selections on Being There (including that one) and solos on half a dozen. White, who has occupied the lead trumpet chair in groups fronted by Maynard Ferguson, Bob James and Harry Connick Jr., among others, not only plays wonderfully, blending a gorgeous tone and unsullied technique with copious ideas, but proves an able composer as well, giving the DSMBB meaty charts in which to sink their collective chops. As White favors slow to moderate tempos bedecked with stately chorale–like passages, the only semblance of a “burner” on offer is Chris Merz’s straight–from–the–hip “Studio #11” (recorded in 1997 by the New England Jazz Ensemble and released earlier this year on Storm Before the Calm, Sea Breeze 2104). Merz also wrote the aptly named “Slinky” with its bluesy, meandering changes while pianist Jim Trompeter contributed “The Happiness You Bring,” Wayne Shorter composed the ballad “Infant Eyes” (a showcase for trombonist Paul Bridson) and Bob Washut arranged Bernstein / Sondheim’s poignant “Somewhere” from the musical West Side Story. The album was recorded at the Hoyt Sherman Auditorium in Des Moines using close miking (four B&K microphones) to enhance the balance and lend the session a “live” feeling, an aim that was definitely achieved as every section is clearly delineated without eclipsing the others. White’s compositions include “Florence,” “Most Triumphant,” “Six for You,“ “Tall Falls” and of course, “Being There.” He solos on all of them and also on “The Happiness You Bring.” Other soloists, all of whom have something pleasing to say, are pianist Sid Bos (“Florence,” “Happiness”), alto Bob Long (“Most Triumphant,” “Slinky,” soprano on “Tall Falls”), Steve O’ Brien (tenor on "Studio #11," clarinet on "Somewhere"), trumpeter Dave Kobberdahl ("Slinky"), drummer Jim Eklof ("Studio #11," "Six for You") and bassist Ross Cornelison ("Tall Falls"). The music is lovely but for the most part laid-back and inward-leaning with no Basie-esque shout choruses, knotty unison passages (except for "Studio #11") or rapid-fire tempos to inflame one's emotions. Even so, the DSMBB is a top-notch ensemble, White is a pleasure to hear as player or composer, Merz's compositions help raise the over-all temperature, and we thoroughly enjoyed Being There to eavesdrop on another engaging performance by one of the Midwest's most consistently impressive big bands.

Contact:Jim Oatts, 5139 69th St., Urbandale, IA 50322 (phone 515–251–5928).


Track Listing: Florence; Infant Eyes; Most Triumphant; Studio #11; Somewhere; Six for You; Being There; The Happiness You Bring; Slinky; Tall Falls (69:50).

Personnel: Jim Oatts, director, trumpet, flugelhorn; Bob Long, alto, soprano sax, flute; Wayne Lage, alto sax, clarinet; Steve O

| Record Label: DSMBB | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "House Of Waters" CD/LP/Track Review House Of Waters
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "Hera" CD/LP/Track Review Hera
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Imagine Nation" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine Nation
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 9, 2016
Read "Samba Gostoso" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Gostoso
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 6, 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!