383

The Brian Pastor Big Band: Common Men

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The Brian Pastor Big Band: Common Men Yes, I'll admit I'm growing old (the senior discount is now a given), but never too old, I hope, to appreciate a big band that's clearly bursting with energy and enthusiasm and swings like every note may be its last. By the way, that's a thumbnail sketch of trombonist Brian Pastor's Philadelphia-based ensemble and Common Men, a dynamic and unequivocally dazzling debut that has left me grinning from ear to ear.

Any session that opens with a pulse-quickening arrangement of a Cole Porter classic is definitely "All Right with Me. As it turns out, that's only the prelude to a succession of superlative charts by Pastor, Kaj Hansen, Chuck Gottesman, Jeff Darrohn, Paul Morris and tenor saxophonist Andrew Neu, who not only revised the Porter standard but cooked up a mouth-watering "Midnight Buffet and constructed a sturdy "Seven Mile Bridge.

Besides playing marvelous trombone, Pastor wrote the groovy "T.S.C. Blues or a Night at the Rat and amorous "Ballad for Ben (featuring Gottesman's flugelhorn) and cleverly arranged Max Bennett's funky "L.A. Expression, the Gershwin brothers' "A Foggy Day, Jule Styne's "Make Someone Happy, the fast-moving "Son of Feelings (another of the album's many highlights) and Aaron Copland's monumental "Fanfare for the Common Man (from which the album's title is derived). High marks too for spelling Copland's name right.

Rounding out the engaging program are Darrohn's breezy "Little Henry, saxophonist Hansen's glistening "Isle of the Pale Eye, Gottesman's riveting "Hard Luck Story (based on "Bye Bye Blackbird ) and trombonist Morris's lustrous arrangement of "You Don't Know What Love Is, on which Pastor is the lone soloist (as he is on "Feelings ). There's one vocal, by Grant Garfuss on "Make Someone Happy, which is followed by Pastor's leisurely a cappella salute to the dispossessed "Bill Bailey and a final "I love you, dad," which closes the album.

Having mentioned Pastor and Gottesman, it should be noted that the other soloists are equally sharp and impressive. They include alto/flutist Hansen, trumpeter Rick Gazda, brothers Andrew (tenor sax) and Peter Neu (trumpet), pianist David Kenney, tenor Ed Etkins, bassist Rob Cochran and drummer Tony Vigilante. If the purpose is to swing, it's almost impossible to do otherwise with Vigilante steering the craft and dropping the bombs, a service he also performs for Philly's Al/Craig Raymond Big Band. If Vigilante is not the most talented big-band drummer on the scene today, he's at least a finalist for that honor.

Don't let the name mislead you; these are by no means "common men, nor is this your run-of-the-mill big-band album. It's a humdinger, and the real surprise would be if it didn't appear on many reviewers' year-end top ten lists.


Track Listing: It

Personnel: Brian Pastor: leader, trombone; Rick Gazda, Tony Bonsera, Chuck Gottesman, Kevin Rodgers, Peter Neu: trumpet; Kaj Hansen, Bob Apgar: alto sax, flute; Andrew Neu: tenor sax, flute; Ed Etkins: tenor sax, flute, alto flute; Alan Kirschner: baritone sax, bass clarinet, flute; Jay Shanman, Glenn Dodson, Paul Morris: trombone; Mike Purdy: bass trombone; Dave Kenney: piano; Greg Kettinger: guitar; Rob Cochran: bass; Tony Vigilante: drums; Grant Garfuss: vocal (14).

Title: Common Men | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: BPO Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Mirror, Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Mirror, Mirror
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Sizzle" CD/LP/Track Review Sizzle
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Over the Rainbow" CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Crystal Machine" CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.