228

Millikin University Jazz Lab 1: Easy to Love

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Millikin University Jazz Lab 1: Easy to Love When assessing any big band, the tried–and–true standards can serve as convenient benchmarks. There are a number of them on Easy to Love, which the Millikin University Jazz Ensemble recorded in May 1995. What they (and the lesser–known numbers) show is an eager group of young people who have mastered the Jazz fundamentals and seem reasonably self–confident when playing together but need to work harder on developing personal skills as improvisers. Director Randall Reyman has evidently worked hard to sculpt the ensemble, but his guest trumpet solo (on “Fly Me to the Moon”) flies well above those of his less practiced students. Among them, the only solos that even become airborne are those by flugel Kevin Pruiett (on Pat Metheny’s “Always and Forever”) and tenor Andy Blanco (“Lover Man”). The ensemble excels at slower tempos but suffers the random and quite understandable misstep at faster speeds, as on “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Too Close for Comfort” and “Easy to Love,” on the last two of which the band supports vocalist Rachael Lee, as it does on “Come Rain or Come Shine.” The (unnamed) lead trumpet (perhaps David Anderson, as he is listed first) prudently shepherds the brass through the more demanding passages, as on “Easy to Love” and Ellington’s “Ko Ko,” showing power to spare. In sum, a respectable (albeit unusually brief) session by a college Jazz ensemble that we can be reasonably certain has continued to grow stronger in the three years since Easy to Love was recorded.

Contact: Randall Reyman, School of Music, Millikin University, 1184 W. Main, Decatur, IL 62522 (217–424–6300).

Track listing: Sweet Georgia Brown; As Time Goes By; Too Close for Comfort; Always and Forever; Ko Ko; Concerto for Cootie; Easy to Love; Lover Man; Fly Me to the Moon; Come Rain or Come Shine (39:15).


Personnel:

Randall Reyman, director; Shawn Maher, Craig Clesson, Andy Blanco, Jennifer Hodor, Tony Babcock, saxophones; David Anderson, Steve Moore, Brian Woods, Kevin Pruiett, Jon Sturm, trumpets; Jason Spooner, Mike Wolfe, Erik Parmenter, Brad Palmer, trombones; Nate Jackson, guitar; Tony DiPasquale, piano; Stacy Williams, bass; Chris Smith, drums; Rachael Lee, vocals.

Title: Easy to Love | Year Released: 1998


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Secular Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Secular Hymns
by John Eyles
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Love Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Deep Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Deep Memory
by John Sharpe
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Allied Forces" CD/LP/Track Review Allied Forces
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Quartet Plus, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Quartet Plus, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Where the Blue Begins" CD/LP/Track Review Where the Blue Begins
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 7, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.