Selected as the orchestra to open for Frank Sinatra's final tour, Tony Corbiscello's 16-piece big band pulls out most of the stops on a play list of fourteen tunes. If not all big band staples, many are tunes that big bands had their book. The musical agenda includes three originals by Marion Evans who also did the arrangements which are not only tasteful but diverse, i.e, they all don't sound the same. Stocked with players from the New York area and driven by leader Corbiscello's drums, this album is replete with well-drilled ensemble playing as well as refreshing and timely solos. The session is further enhanced by the presence of A-one guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli on "Lover," "Dream," "Around Town," but especially "But not for Me," played jam session style. The latter track is one of the highlights of the session opening with Corbiscello's brushes playing behind the subtle piano of veteran Ben Aronov fading to the ensemble with Corbiscello's drums still hanging on. Pizzarelli comes in to take a couple of choruses followed by an unidentified trombone player. That's the one major disappointment with this CD. There's some outstanding solo trombone, trumpet and sax work, but no one saw fit to credit them in the liner notes. The band can play sweet without sounding maudlin as shown on "Dream" which opens with a trumpet with a mixture of Harry James and Charlie Spivak licks. "When the Sun Comes Out" borrows from Stan Kenton, including the trombone figures Kenton occasionally used to end his tunes. While Evans' arrangements are pleasant and varied, his original material sounds somewhat dated, lacking vibrancy. The best of the bunch is "Bikini Bossa" with Aronov's piano once more taking getting the solo time.
Ordinarily just providing a bit more than 40 minutes of music is cause for complaint. In this case, more might have been overkill from this high powered aggregation. In any event, this session is a nice balance between full powered and a bit more delicate arrangements. In Full Swing is recommended.
Track Listing: Close as Pages in a Book; That old Feeling; I'll Never Say "Never Again" Again; Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night of the Week; But not for Me; Dream; Margie; When the Sun Comes Out; Bikini Bossa; Have You Met Miss Jones?; Johnnie's Theme; Lady of Spain; Lover; Around Town
Personnel: Tony Corbiscello - Leader/Drums; Dave Stahl, Danny Cahn, John Eckert, Patrick Rickman - Trumpets; Steve Bleifuss, Harvey Tibbs; Bruce Eidem- Trombone; Matt Ingman - Bass Trombone; Alan Gauvin, Dave Bixler - Alto Sax; Doug Lawrence, Jim Perry - Tenor Sax; John Zemba - Baritone Sax; Ben Aronov - Piano; Jerry Bruno - Bass; Bucky Pizzarelli - Guitar
The first record I bought was Miles Smiles. Having been a drummer since age two, hearing a young Tony Williams opened up so many possibilities for a 14 year old church drummer. My life changed that day and I've never looked back!