Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

236

The Mike Vax Jazz Orchestra: BigBandJazz.Net

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Big band jazz has always been easy for the listener to bond with. It’s a familiar format. Some part of our backgrounds usually tugs at the thought of a solid team working together like that. These are artists who’ve trained together and who have continued, over the years, to maintain a forum where inexperienced jazz performers can get needed practice. The music of Stan Kenton and Count Basie is merged with that of Lennie Niehaus and other contemporary leaders. For his big band’s soundscape, trumpeter Mike Vax favors a heavy brass background that provides strength. His rhythm section moves with a fluid air. Various soloists step forward and remind us that this democratic team spirit will always be around. Vax has passionate features on “La Virgen de la Macarena,” “Love Theme from Hair, “Naked Gun” and “Vax Attacks.” His power, ultra-high range and majestic spirit soar as high as they did many years ago when Vax worked with the bands of Stan Kenton and Don Ellis. However, the musical arrangements, including one of Kenton’s, fail to bring back that old feeling. Fairly straightforward, they’re designed to mold an ensemble sound into one large, balanced package. At that, the band hits the mark dead on. Brass, woodwind and rhythm sections provide a balanced attack through lively swing numbers – some familiar and some original. But, the creative energy that should drive a big band’s soloists has climbed into the back seat. Improvisation and spontaneity are sacrificed in favor of the group’s desired round sound. The album’s high points include Mike Tomaro’s spicy arrangement of “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and Rolf Johnson’s arrangement of “Ice Nine,” which features Roy Snyder’s enticing alto saxophone solo. Several audio samples from the album are available online.

Title: BigBandJazz.net | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Enja Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Planets + Persona" CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Embodied Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Embodied Hope
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 6, 2017
Read "How to Build a City" CD/LP/Track Review How to Build a City
by Jim Olin
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "A Piece of the Apple" CD/LP/Track Review A Piece of the Apple
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Honey And Salt" CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "My Head is Listening" CD/LP/Track Review My Head is Listening
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 2, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor