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Pat’s full name is Patrick Dill, and his Swiss–based ensemble plays music from the swing and big–band eras with the precision and reliability of one of that country’s renowned watches. If accuracy were enough, Pat’s Big Band would be seated near the head of any class. As it is, the band is quite good at what it does but lacks the inner spark or fire necessary to inflame wholly one’s passions. A clear example of this is Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” in the same arrangement used by Buddy Rich some years ago. Pat’s band plays it about as scrupulously as one can, but without Buddy’s dauntless heart or muscle. An unfair example, perhaps, but the same holds true elsewhere; while the ensemble is well–schooled and always professional, and the soloists are passable, that’s as far as it goes. On the other hand, the Swiss may be charmed by music that’s not as well–known to them as it would be to an American audience. These are, after all, among the finest Jazz and popular songs ever written, which perhaps is why Pat’s band has chosen to revisit them. Like many big bands, Pat’s employs a vocalist, and while Katharina Baur isn’t bad (she sings on half a dozen numbers), neither does she cause any sparks to fly. As for the band, it is at its best on the date’s only “unknown” number, alto saxophonist André Müller’s “The Day Before,” on which he offers a brief but spicy solo and the band responds warmly. On the whole, some pleasant tunes from the Basie, Ellington, Rich, Tommy Dorsey and Harry James libraries, nicely played by Pat’s Big Band, but nothing much to get excited about.
Track listing: Opus No. 1; Corner Pocket; Yes Indeed; I Just Found Out About Love; Harlem Nocturne; Love for Sale; At Last; Almost Like Being in Love; I’ve Heard That Song Before; King Porter Stomp; That Ole Devil Called Love; Shiny Stockings; The Day Before; Things Ain’t What They Used to Be (52:49).
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.