One conclusive way to appraise an albumbig-band or otherwiseis by the emotional response it arouses in the listener. Come and Get it!,
the debut recording by the Virginia-based Vosbein Magee Big Band, gives rise to warmth and happiness for a number of reasons, not least of which are an unbroken series of bright and impressive themes, as well as the band's earnest and admirable performance before an appreciative audience at the historic Washington & Lee University in Lexington.
The Vosbein here is Terry, composer, arranger and guiding force behind the ensemble and its genial point of view. The Magee is Chris, the band's co-leader and dependable lead trumpet player. Vosbein is responsible for nine of the album's fourteen good-natured numbers, alto saxophonist Greg Moody two ("Delta Queen," "Holly Marie"), Magee one (the flag-waving "Been There, Done That"). The others are Janis Ian's ballad "Seventeen" and the school-song finale "Washington & Lee Swing," both neatly arranged by Vosbein. Five of Vosbein's originals have a French patois
, as they were written while he was living in Paris.
Moody's "Delta Queen" is a New Orleans-style swinger with stalwart solos by Magee, trombonist Rick Lillard and pianist Wayne Gallops
, "Holly Marie" an emphatic blues amplified by Moody, Lillard and the band's exemplary brass and wind sections. Drummer Rob Sanderl
is a standout on "Been There, Done That," as are soloistsTommie McKenzie
(trombone), Ken Hitchcock (tenor sax) and trumpeter Eli Goldstein. Alto Tom Artwick
is showcased on Vosbein's dreamy "Reflections" and the light-hearted "Revelry on Rivoli," Hitchcock on the groovy "Je ne sais quoi," Magee on "Le Metro," which depicts in musical terms Paris's lively commuter rail system (a somewhat more laid-back version of Bud Powell
's bop classic "Parisian Thoroughfare").
It all begins with a brace of impressive themes by Vosbein: the album's irrepressible title selection, superbly engineered by the ensemble to complement crisp solos by Gallops, Magee and trombonist Tom Lundberg
, followed by "I'm Gonna Tell You Something," a Latin charmer on which Lundberg, Magee and Hitchcock share solo honors. At the concert's other end are Ian's sumptuous "Seventeen," on which Lundberg, Magee, Artwick and tenor Justin Berkley solo, and "W&L Swing," underlined by Sanderl's in-the-pocket drumming. Come and Get It!
is a big-band session in the best sense of the phrase, and as such is warmly recommended.
Come and Get It!; I’m Gonna Tell You Something; Delta Queen; Reflections; Je ne sais quoi; Takin’ a Walk; Le Metro; Nostalgia; Been There, Done That; Holly Marie; Latin Quarter; Revelry on Rivoli; At Seventeen; Washington and Lee Swing.
Terry Vosbein: director; Chris Magee: co-leader, trumpet; Brian Quakenbush: trumpet; Shelby Carico: trumpet; Eli Goldstein: trumpet; Tom Artwick: alto sax; Greg Moody: alto sax, alto flute, percussion; Ken Hitchcock: tenor sax; Justin Berkley: tenor sax; Rachel Smith: baritone sax; Tom McKenzie: trombone; Tom Lundberg: trombone; Rick Lillard: trombone; Tyler Bare: bass trombone; Wayne Gallops: piano; Brian Holt: bass; Rob Sanderl: drums.