All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


The Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra: In Progress

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
It's not true that I never met a big band I didn't like. I just haven't met any lately—especially not from the Seattle area, which gradually and without fanfare has become a breeding ground for invigorating contemporary big band jazz. Case in point: the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, whose debut CD, In Progress, is a corker from start to finish, and a textbook example of how admirable a regional "no-big-name band can be if everyone is on the same page and works diligently to make sure there are no perceptible slip-ups.

To begin with, the orchestra is impressively recorded with splendid balance among the sections, something that isn't always true when there's not a lot of money to spread around. So kudos first to recording engineer Howard Mostrom, mixer David Pascal and their colleagues for a job well done. High marks as well to Cutler and Daniel Barry for their consistently engaging compositions and arrangements, which complement one another marvelously. Cutler wrote half a dozen numbers and arranged John Coltrane's anthem, "Dear Lord, as a feature for his eloquent tenor saxophone. Barry, a trumpeter who has written for the Jazz Police and Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra, among others, composed and arranged the remaining six, half of which underscore his fondness for Latin rhythms.

From Cutler's bluesy shuffle, "Mack's Place, to his airy ensemble piece, "Twilight Dawned, this is an album that never lets you down, as the orchestra deftly maneuvers its way through the invariably persuasive charts. Barry's essays include a mambo ("Milky Way ), cha cha ("May Day ) and bossa ("Encontro das Águas ), a groovy tone poem ("Dream Catcher ), a sultry showcase for tenor saxophonist Richard Cole ("The Checkered Demon ) and a swinging salute to the big band era ("View from the Top ). To keep pace, Cutler wrote the lissome "Alan Weight Speaking, clever "Get in the Game, lively "Autumn Mist and impulsive "In Progress.

Aside from Cutler, Cole and Barry (whose flugel is heard on "Águas ), the orchestra's cadre of capable soloists includes trumpet/flugels Mike Mines and Al Keith, altos Chris Fagan and Steve Treseler, flutist James DeJoie, trombonists Chris Amemiya and Steve Kirk, pianist Steve Rice and bassist Philip Demaree. Even so, I found myself smiling most broadly during Susan Pascal's breathtaking marimba solo on "May Day. The orchestra uses three drummers—Chris Monroe, Scott Ketron, Greg Williamson—and the rhythm section is razor-sharp, no matter who's in the driver's seat.

I'm told that Seattle has a "farm system wherein children start playing jazz in elementary and middle school, which helps explain why the Garfield and Roosevelt high school bands sound better than many college ensembles—and why so many outstanding professional bands have been springing up in and around the city. The JCJO certainly enhances Seattle's burgeoning stature as a mecca for high-quality jazz, and placing In Progress on one's list of the best big band albums of the year is a no-brainer.

Track Listing: Mack's Place; Milky Way Mambo; Alan Weight Speaking; Get In The Game; Encontro Das Aguas; Dreamcatcher; Dear Lord; In Progress; Autumn Mist; The Checkered Demon; May Day; View From The Top; Twilight Dawned.

Personnel: Jim Cutler: leader,tenor, flute and clarinet; Steve Treseler, Vanessa Sielert, Richard Cole, James DeJoie, Lisa Gordanier, Chris Fagan, Paul Gillespie: reeds; Chris Amemiya, Steve Kirk, Chuck Wiese, Nelson Bell, Emily Asher: trombones; Dennise Haldane, Mike Mines, Al Kieth, Daniel Barry, Peter Greene: trumpets; Steve Rice: piano; Philip Demaree: bass; Greg Williamson (4,7,10,12), Chris Monroe (1,3,8,9), Scott Ketron (2,5,6,11): drums; Brian Kinsela; piano (4,7,10,12); Susan Pascal: vibraphone, marimba.

Title: In Progress | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Pony Boy Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
In Progress

In Progress

Pony Boy Records

For Real

For Real

Pony Boy Records


Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Blues and Boogie Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "NEVER DIE! by \\livingfossil//" CD/LP/Track Review NEVER DIE! by \\livingfossil//
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: February 22, 2018
Read "Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik" CD/LP/Track Review Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Mercerville" CD/LP/Track Review Mercerville
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "Green Moss Black Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Green Moss Black Sand
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "Provenance" CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017