Long a fixture throughout Chicagoland, the Ellman name is synonymous with all things musical. No "ache" at all, this album is a fun big-band romp. There is some outstanding ensemble and solo work and the various terrific arrangements bring the best out of a superb, engaged ensemble.
The opener, "High Speed Pursuit," is a whirlwind burner which demonstrates the swing, muscle, and solo talent of this fine ensemble. Think "Naked Gun" on speed. The swing spirit is evident in the title tuneone that is reminiscent of those Buddy Rich burners of the late '60s. This group has an energy which is hard to top, as on "The Adventures of Snooky and Bumbles," an adventure and exploration in "Rhythm." Yet, there is some very fine ballad playing here too, as on "Soon It's Gonna Rain" featuring a very tasty David Katz flugelhorn solo.
There are a handful of fine arrangers involved, each offering their unique creative wares. Each takes advantage of the collective and individual talents of this ensemble and challenges same. Excellent examples are Larry Harris's Gil Evans-ish "Soon It's Gonna Rain," the hip Latin take from Matt Harris on Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing," and the slick mash-up by Daniel Moore of "Manteca" with "Take the 'A' Train." Alan Blaylock's "Livin' Larger Than Life" is another example where arranging skill meets ensemble chops. The result of this input variety leads to most enjoyable listening.
Lead trumpeter Roger Ingram commands this ship magnificently along with in-pocket men, drummer Bill Byan, percussionist Ron Spaeth, and their fine rhythm mates, Larry Harris, Aaron Kruger, and Keith Brady. Their collective cooking on "Tenor Sanity," a re-work on the Sonny Rollins "Madness" classic, is a muscular tenor battle between Ira Nevins and Ian Letts.
For Pete's Ache is the kind of big band album that serves up an intelligent, entertaining, and very swinging near-hour. It is an honest, no-frills, trip to Big Band Land.
High Speed Pursuit, When Lights Are Low, For Pete's Ache, Soon It's Gonna Rain, It Don't
Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Home Sweet Home, Manteca the 'A' Train, Tenor
Sanity, Dos Cinco Juan, The Adventures of Snooky and Bumbles, Livin' Larger Than Life.