162

Bobby Burgess Big Band Explosion: Butters Idea

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
If the name Bobby Burgess sounds vaguely familiar, you may remember him as an outstanding trombonist with the Stan Kenton and Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestras and big bands led by Woody Herman, Buddy Rich and others before he moved to Germany in the early ’70s. Bobby played with a number of Germany’s leading ensembles, chiefly the South German Radio Big Band, and when he formed his own band in 1987 it followed logically that he would create it in their dynamic image using many of the most capable big–band musicians that country had to offer. He called his ensemble the Bobby Burgess Big Band Explosion, and led it until his premature death last year. The band recorded twice, and Butters Idea, from 1994, is the earlier of the two. The title derives from Bobby’s nickname, Butter, which in turn alludes to the velvet–smooth sound of his trombone. The band’s buoyant frame of reference is bound securely to the swinging legacy of Kenton, Herman and Rich with radiant compositions and/or arrangements by Don Menza, Bill Holman, Mike Barone, Bill Dobbins, Frank St. Peter (“Burgess Surges”) and sidemen Paul Heller (“Waltz for Alexandra”), Stephan Zimmermann (“Healing Forces”) and Martin Schrack (“Without Words”). Burgess, always the unassuming anchor, grants almost everyone else a moment or two in the sun while taking only two relatively brief solos himself, muted on Holman’s fiery “Butters Idea” and open on “Shuffle Kings,” which was also written and arranged by Holman. Menza contributed the loose–limbed opener, “Groove Blues,” and Dobbins arranged Ellington/Irving Mills’ “In a Sentimental Mood” as a luminous feature for baritone saxophonist Steffen Schorn. That precedes the truly inspired finale, fellow trombonist Mike Barone’s sparkling samba–like treatment of a most unlikely but no less absorbing Jazz vehicle, Cole Porter’s “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” Equally entrancing are Schrack’s whimsical “Words,” St. Peter’s high–powered “Burgess Surges” and Heller’s lyrical “Waltz for Alexandra.” The ensemble is strapping and blemish–free, the rhythm section (Schrack, Wiedmann, Höfler, Nell) sharp and supple, and the soloists — including Schorn, Wiedmann, Heller, Schrack, Zimmernann, Malle, Graf, Strempel, Sauerborn, Hesse and trombonists Petzold and Mears — bright–eyed and resourceful. In sum, the very model of an explosive modern big band.

Track listing: Groove Blues; Burgess Surges; Waltz for Alexandra; Butters Idea; Healing Forces; Shuffle Kings; Without Words; In a Sentimental Mood; My Heart Belongs to Daddy (56:17).

Personnel:

Klaus Graf, alto, soprano sax; Heinz Dieter Sauerborn, alto sax; Andi Malle, Paul Heller, tenor sax; Steffan Schorn, baritone, bass sax; Rainer Heute, baritone sax, bass clarinet; Stephan Zimmerman, Thorsten Benkenstein, Sebastian Strempel, Ralf Hesse, Jochen Metzler, trumpet, flugelhorn; Adrian Mears, Joachim Petzold, Oliver Pospiech, Rainer M

| Record Label: Bell | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "The Volume Surrounding the Task" CD/LP/Track Review The Volume Surrounding the Task
by John Eyles
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "The Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review The Unknown
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "Forty" CD/LP/Track Review Forty
by James Nadal
Published: May 15, 2016
Read "Seasons 1-4 Live" CD/LP/Track Review Seasons 1-4 Live
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "Close Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Close Enough
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 8, 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!