319

U.S. Air Force Band of the West: Jazz Heritage II: The Music of Gordon Goodwin

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
U.S. Air Force Band of the West: Jazz Heritage II: The Music of Gordon Goodwin I don't ordinarily review albums by Armed Services bands, as they aren't for sale or widely available, but I will say a word or two about Jazz Heritage II by the Air Force Band of the West, as music director Steve Watkins said he'd welcome my comments, and the first word that comes to mind is "Wow!

I've heard Gordon Goodwin's acclaimed Big Phat Band play most of these charts, and even his hand-picked crew of blue-chip Hollywood studio sidemen can't play them appreciably better than this. There's a lot to be said for working together on an almost daily basis, as service bands do, which gives rise to an esprit de corps that one sees in only a handful of ensembles, amateur or pro. The Band of the West (Dimensions in Blue), formed in 1941 and now headquartered at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, had the further advantage of having Goodwin himself sitting in on the recording sessions, which must have not only inspired the musicians but allowed the maestro to fine tune the charts (one of which, "La Almeja Pequeño, was commissioned for the occasion) and lend them his seal of approval.

Angelo Stokes' thumping tom toms set the pace on "Sing Sang Sung, Goodwin's clever send-up of Louis Prima's crowd-pleaser from the late '30s, preceding vigorous solos by tenor Ricky Sweum and lead trumpeter Nick Cooper. "Pequeño features the band's other tenor, Cody Brown, and Watkins on trumpet; vocalist Crissy Saalborn nails Cole Porter's "It's All Right with Me, and Sweum and guitarist Rick Baisden share solo honors on "A Few Good Men. "Swingin' for the Fences (a.k.a. "Sweet Georgia Brown ) introduces pianist David Lopez and trombonist Mark Hill whose commentary gives way to a spirited tenor duel between Sweum and Brown.

Brown is showcased on the standard "When I Fall in Love, which prefaces four more of Goodwin's exemplary charts—"High Maintenance (solos by Brown and trombonist Don Marchand), "Bach 2-Part Invention in D Minor (Lopez, soprano Richard Baum), "Count Bubba (Marchand, Brown) and "There's the Rub (Baisden, Baum on alto). Vocalist Richard Vasquez pinch hits for Johnny Mathis, who appeared on Goodwin's album XXL, and slams one out of the park on the flashy finale, "Let the Good Times Roll.

The ensemble is close-order all the way (dig the death-defying soli by the various sections on "Count Bubba ), the soloists sharp and on target. That's the good news. The not-so-good news, as touched on earlier, is that the album "is for use in public service broadcasting, recruiting, educational activities, troop morale and retention, which is true of every album produced by military bands. So when it comes to measuring the artistry of the Air Force Band of the West, you may have to take my word for it.

Visit the U.S. Air Force Band of the West online for mp3 sound samples.


Track Listing: Sing Sang Sung; La Almeja Pequeo (The Little Clam); Its All Right with Me; A Few Good Men; Swingin for the Fences; Samba del Gringo; When I Fall in Love; High Maintenance; Bach 2-Part Invention (in D Minor); Count Bubba; Theres the Rub; Let the Good Times Roll (76:16).

Personnel: Gordon Goodwin, composer, arranger; Steve Watkins, music director, trumpet; Nick Cooper, Eric Kawamura, Bill Bjornes, trumpet; Richard Baum, David Malek, alto sax; Cody Brown, Ricky Sweum, tenor sax; Matthew Ayala, baritone sax; Don Marchand, Mark Hill, Heather Kirschner, Jerome Auman, trombone; Tony Hutchins, bass trombone; David Lopez, piano; Richard Baisden, guitar; Jon Packard, bass; Angelo Stokes, drums, percussion; Robert Browning, percussion; Crissy Saalborn, Richard Vasquez, vocals.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Self Produced | 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 "Need to Bring Out Love" CD/LP/Track Review Need to Bring Out Love
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "2468 West Grand Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review 2468 West Grand Boulevard
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 27, 2016
Read "Intersection" CD/LP/Track Review Intersection
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 9, 2016
Read "Live in Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Concert
by David Becker
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Nihil Novi" CD/LP/Track Review Nihil Novi
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 30, 2016
Read "Guitar Stories: Slack Key & Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review Guitar Stories: Slack Key & Beyond
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 2, 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!