212

The Ian Pearce Big Band: Dedication

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The Ian Pearce Big Band: Dedication Most American jazz enthusiasts, if pressed to name a world-class British big band, would likely invoke the hallowed name of Ted Heath. Ask them to name another and you'd probably draw a blank stare. If, however, anyone were to answer with the name Ian Pearce, you'd have to jury-rig a fanfare and award him or her a gold star and high marks for having done their homework. Pearce's ensemble may not have Heath's star power, but it does have staying power: the band has been together for 27 years and shows no signs of slowing down. On the contrary, it keeps getting better, as Dedication, recorded last November, clearly shows.

The album's name was easy to conceive, as the entire venture is dedicated to Dave Plews, the band's lead trumpeter until his untimely passing in 2000, and there are a number of other warmhearted salutes—two ("On Mayne Street, "Sam's Song ) to current lead alto Sam Mayne, one each to former lead altos Jamie Talbot ("All About Jamie ) and the late Joan Cunningham ("Cunningham's Way ), others to Pearce's late wife, Brad ("The Spirit Is Free ), Thad Jones/Mel Lewis ("For Thad and Mel, naturally) and Miles Davis/W.C. Handy ("All Blues/St. Louis Blues ). Besides playing piano and leading the band, Pearce arranged everything and wrote all save the "Blues medley. A busy man indeed.

Pearce's charts are fun to hear and must be fun to play as well. Everything swings nicely, and the ensemble is earnestly on its collective toes, breathing energy and ardor into every one of Pearce's enchanting melodies. Besides those already mentioned, they include the winsome "Wailing on the Blues, softly nuanced "Nirvana, torrid "Two-Part Invention, sensuous "Stay with Me Tonight and vehement "Vertigo. Mayne is showcased on alto ("Mayne Street ) and soprano ("Sam's Song ), Talbot on "All About Jamie, alto Colin Skinner on "Nirvana, drummer Ian Thomas on "Vertigo," Henry Collins on "Cunningham's Way (trumpet) and "Stay with Me Tonight (flugel). There are other superb solos courtesy of alto Mick Foster and tenors Josephine Davies, Lauren Hignall and Sam Bullard.

Like all successful bandleaders, Pearce is careful to surround himself with the best musicians he can find. On Dedication, I counted at least ten talented alumni from Great Britain's unrivaled National Youth Jazz Orchestra (there may be more), thus resolving any concerns about quality control. The rest is up to Pearce, and he has come through (again) with flying colors, producing an album that is stylish and entertaining from end to end. If you're ready to venture beyond Ted Heath, lend an ear to Ian Pearce's enterprising ensemble. I've no doubt you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Track Listing: Wailing on the Blues; The Spirit Is Free; Nirvana (Bliss); All Blues / St. Louis Blues; On Mayne Street; Cunninghams Way; Two Part Invention; Sams Song; For Thad and Mel; All About Jamie; Stay with Me Tonight; Vertigo (58:08).

Personnel: Ian Pearce: leader, composer, arranger, piano; Simon Gardiner, Stuart Brooks, Andy Gray, Henry Collins, John Paul, Ben Godfrey: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jamie Talbot, Colin Skinner, Sam Mayne, Mick Foster, Lauren Hignall, Josephine Davies, Sam Bullard, Jon Halton, Dean Nixon: reeds; Cliff Hardie, Martin Gladdish, Neil Sidwell, Simon Tate, Paul Wright, Chris Fowler: trombone; Steve Pearce: bass; Ian Thomas: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Big Musik | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Dobbeltgaenger" CD/LP/Track Review Dobbeltgaenger
by John Sharpe
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Visual Music" CD/LP/Track Review Visual Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Dark Territory" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Territory
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 15, 2016
Read "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 1, 2016
Read "Cave Art" CD/LP/Track Review Cave Art
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: August 20, 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!