One sampling of trombonist Brian Pastor's Common Men will be enough to convince you that there's nothing common about the music you've just heard or the musicians that played it. It's an especially pleasurable big band outing and debut for The Brian Pastor Big Band, a nineteen-piece Philadelphia-based ensemble delivering one swinging performance.
The album includes a mixture of standards and originals from members of the band. Pastor contributes two new charts, beginning with the lively "T.S.C. Blues Or A Night at The Rat, and the soft and lovely "Ballad For Ben, with Chuck Gottesman featured on the flugelhorn.
Other members of the group providing originals scores here are Gottesman, performing solo trumpet duties on his "My Hard Luck Story and woodwind man Kaj Hansen, whistling away on flute on his "Isle Of The Pale Eye. The versatile saxophonist/flautist Andrew Neu contributes several arrangements and two stellar charts, including the seven-minute cool and groovy "Seven Mile Bridge and sizzling hot "Midnight Buffet, served well done. This is one burner of a tune containing fiery solos from Neu on tenor, brother Peter on trumpet, Hansen on flute, Tony Vigilante on drums and the leader on trombone.
Not to be overlooked are some of the better-known classics given special treatment through new arrangements. The set opens up with a Neu arrangement of Cole Porter's "It's All Right With Me, showcasing fine solos by Neu on tenor, trumpeter Rick Gazda and drummer Vigilante. Pastor gives a beautiful solo performance on his arrangement of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man. Replete with solo shots by six players, Pastor's arrangement of Gershwin's "A Foggy Day (In London Town) is one of the standout tracks on this disc.
Some of my personal favorites include the beautiful mellow ballad "You Don't Know What Love Is, with Pastor as the lone soloist, and the terrific swinging vibrations of "Son Of Feelings. Can't say enough about this one folks, I truly had a great time listening and moving to one dynamite session of riveting big band sounds. Common Men will occupy a special place in my collection of contemporary big band music.
It's All Right With Me; T.S.C. Blues Or A Night At The Rat; Fanfare For The Common Man; You Don't Know What Love Is; Little Henry; L.A. Expression; Ballad For Ben; Midnight Buffet; Son Of Feelings; A Foggy Day (In London Town); Isle Of The Pale Eye; My Hard Luck Story; Seven Mile Bridge; Make Someone Happy.
Brian Pastor: leader, trombone; Kaj Hansen: lead alto saxophone, flute; Bob Apgar: alto saxophone, flute; Andrew Neu: lead tenor saxophone, flute; Ed Etkins: tenor saxophone, flute; Alan Kirschner: baritone saxophone, flute; Rick Gazda: trumpet; Tony Bonsera: trumpet; Chuck Gottesman: trumpet; Kevin Rogers: trumpet; Peter Neu: trumpet; Jay Shanman: trombone; Paul Morris: trombone; Mike : trombone; Glenn Dodson: trombone; Dave Kenney: piano; Rob Cochran: bass; Tony Vigilante: drums; Greg Kettinger: guitar.