307

The Hank Levy Alumni Band: Hank at Home

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Disproving the poet T.S. Eliot’s sardonic observation, composer / arranger / educator Hank Levy’s life ended not with a whimper but a bang, thanks to a group of his former students who decided to hand their mentor the reins for one last exhilarating buggy ride. The album’s title means exactly what it says — Hank at Home was recorded at Oak Crest Village in Baltimore, MD, where Levy resided until his passing last September at age 73, barely six months after the aptly named Alumni Band turned a part of his “home” into a makeshift studio to preserve for posterity ten of his scintillating big–band arrangements, the music to three of which he also composed. Hank was there to direct the session, and among the best things the album has going for it are his consistently resourceful charts, which are not only bright and challenging but never fail to swing. Levy was always partial to Latin rhythms, and each of his compositions (“Mucho Gusto, Los Mendanos,” “Latintensity,”“ With the Old Man in Mind”) sways to a buoyant tropical beat. The Alumni Band gives each of them a dramatic spin with drummer Steve Ashcraft a notably sure–handed navigator astride the ensemble’s tenacious rhythm section. The trumpets weather a shaky start on the lovely “Green Dolphin Street” but that’s the only conspicuous misstep in an otherwise admirable session. Soloists aren’t listed, which is too bad, as there are meaty comments by an unnamed alto or altos (“Green Dolphin Street,” “Over the Rainbow,” “With the Old Man in Mind”), soprano (“Just Friends”), trumpet (“Mucho Gusto”) and tenor (“Someday My Prince Will Come,” “My Favorite Things,” “Mucho Gusto,” “Latintensity”). The trombones are especially impressive on “Just Friends,” “A Time for Love” and “Little Girl Blue,” the reeds on “Someday My Prince Will Come,” the trumpets whenever their services are needed. Rich Collier, saddled with one of the worst–sounding pianos on record, rises above that impediment on “Just Friends” and “Latintensity,” while guitarist Dave Leoni weighs in with a couple of classy solos as well. What a thrill it must have been for Hank to supervise his former students one more time, given the best seat in the house to hear his arrangements performed by a group of musicians whose overriding purpose was to express their love and appreciation for the positive influence he’d had on their lives. At its heart, that’s what music, and Jazz, should be all about.

Contact: Sonority Records, 7701 Jervis St., Springfield, VA 22151. Phone 703–354–1557.


Track Listing: Green Dolphin Street; Just Friends; A Time for Love; Someday My Prince Will Come; My Favorite Things; Over the Rainbow; Mucho Gusto, Los Mendanos; Little Girl Blue; With the Old Man in Mind; Latintensity (54:55).

Personnel: Hank Levy, composer, arranger, director; Gil Rathel, Dave Dumler, Pete Gorelick, Karl Tracy, Ray Disney, trumpet; Al Maniscalco, Adam Grimm, Dave Rbyczynski, Barry Caudill, Joe Corral, reeds; Dan Drew, Griz Gifford, Craig Fager, Andrea Staiano, Bernie Robier, trombone; Dave Leoni, guitar; Rich Collier, piano; Chris Hoffer, bass; Steve Ashcraft, drums.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Sonority Records | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 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 Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
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 "El Viaje" CD/LP/Track Review El Viaje
by James Nadal
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Ready Take One" CD/LP/Track Review Ready Take One
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Reconnect" CD/LP/Track Review Reconnect
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "The Chicago Plan" CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Plan
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Solo" CD/LP/Track Review Solo
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 27, 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!