139

The Top Brass Jazz Orchestra: Jazz Melodika

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
This is my kind of big–band music — loose, swinging and straight as an arrow. Okay, so the Top Brass Orchestra from London’s West End isn’t always letter–perfect. What’s far more important is that this band of intrepid warriors is out there in the trenches, engaging in fierce hand–to–hand combat with the ever–growing forces of musical indecency, and has been since 1975. And when we say less–than–perfect we don’t mean to imply amateurish. Far from it. Top Brass is on the whole an admirable ensemble comprised of dedicated professional and semi–pro musicians who love what they are doing, and it shows. On this, its fourth recording, the orchestra reads almost exclusively from the Great American Songbook with most of the charts by such well–known heavyweights as Lennie Niehaus, Tom Kubis, Frank Mantooth, Bill Holman, Marty Paich, Frank Foster and Sammy Nestico. Top Brass has also enlisted the services of a number of talented guest artists including smooth tenor saxophonist Phil Day who solos on seven numbers and is prominently featured on four of them — Irving Berlin’s “Change Partners,” Jule Styne’s “Time After Time,” the Gershwins’ “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” and Carmen Lombardo’s “Seems Like Old Times.” Speaking of saxophonists, the ensemble boasts one of England’s most respected reedmen in Roy Willox who’s typically dazzling on “Just in Time,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and his ballad showcase, “One for My Baby.” Other notable TB soloists include trumpeter Ron Humphries, trombonist John Bridge, pianist Simon Ashford (featured on Paich’s arrangement of “Body and Soul”) and bassist Tom McQuater. This is timeless music, flawlessly designed for listening or dancing and performed with dexterity and enthusiasm by the Top Brass Orchestra and its guests. If you are able to hunt down a copy of the disc, trap it and mount it on a shelf.

Contact:Phil Shakespeare, The Bards, Chorleywood Road, Rickmansworth WD3 4EU, England. Phone 01923 773536; e–mail philip.shakespeare@btinternet.com


Track Listing: You

Personnel: Bob Wheal, director; Roy Willox, alto, soprano sax; Connie Peers, alto sax; Eddie Mordue, alto, tenor sax, EWI; Geoff Carter, tenor sax, EWI; Phil Shakespeare, tenor sax; Mike Rubie, baritone sax; Jeremy Moore, Ron Humphries, Peter Baker, Gerry Arthur, trumpet, flugelhorn; Bill Skelton, John Bridge, John Whittaker, trombone; Mike Standley, bass trombone; Roger Moon, Simon Ashton, piano, keyboards; Tom McQuater, bass guitar; Gerry Boyce, drums. Guest artists

Title: Jazz Melodika | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: TBJO


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Happy All the Time" CD/LP/Track Review Happy All the Time
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Drama" CD/LP/Track Review Drama
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Genesis" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Directions" CD/LP/Track Review Directions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Twin" CD/LP/Track Review Twin
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: April 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.