341

The Dayton Jazz Orchestra: Just Playin' Around

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Although not usually singled out as a hotbed of big-band jazz, Ohio boasts a number of impressive regional ensembles — the Cleveland and Columbus Jazz Orchestras, Cincinnati’s legendary Blue Wisp Big Band, and last but not least, the well-equipped Dayton Jazz Orchestra. The DJO kicks off its tenth year with a colorful new album on which, despite its unassuming title, the group is doing much more than Just Playin’ Around. To the contrary, the ensemble is dapper and businesslike, the soloists bright and earnest, especially trumpeter Al Parr and tenor saxophonist Hap Ashenfelter.

Parr is a standout on his features, Ellington’s “Portrait of Louis Armstrong” (the only one of the eleven numbers recorded live) and Monk’s “Ruby My Dear,” while Ashenfelter summons images of the great Bill Perkins on Benny Golson’s “Whisper Not” and Bill Holman’s classic arrangement of “Stompin’ at the Savoy.” Composer / arranger and former trombonist Bob Curnow gives his favorite section a couple of meaty charts to chew on — the sprightly opener, “Bone Appetit,” and stirring finale, Francis Scott Key’s national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” Ellington is represented again by “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” (solos by Parr, pianist Lars Potteiger, trombonist Noah Bellamy), son Mercer Ellington by “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be” (featuring Ashenfelter and alto Tim Pence). Rounding out the well-designed program are Juan Tizol’s “Perdido,” Frank Mantooth’s fiery arrangement of Ray Noble’s Jazz standard, “Cherokee,” and another atypical selection that works surprisingly well, John Philip Sousa’s strutting “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The DJO’s rhythm section, incited by drummer / artistic director Tom Pompei (an unerring bombardier on “Perdido”) and including pianist Potteiger and bassist Don Compton, provides a constant flow of adrenalin, with only “Savoy” lacking enough muscle and firepower to compete with other versions we’ve heard including Kenton’s. In all, a sizable measure of rewarding big-band Jazz from one of Ohio’s several bounteous stockpiles.

Contact: Dayton Jazz Orchestra, 1864 E. Lytle 5 Pts Road, Dayton, OH 45458. Phone Tom Pompei, 937-231-3687; e-mail daytonjazz orchestra@woh.rr.com


Track Listing: Bone Appetit; Whisper Not; Things Ain

Personnel: John Harner, Reg Richwine, Al Parr, Dick Fox, Mark Wilcox, trumpet; Tim Pence, Hap Ashenfelter, Dan Nicora, Bill Burns, Jeremiah True, reeds; Linda Landis, Noah Bellamy, John Hoff, Denny Selfried, Todd Couch, trombone; Lars Potteiger, piano; Don Compton, bass; Tom Pompei, drums, artistic director.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: DJO | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Once Upon a Time Right Now" CD/LP/Track Review Once Upon a Time Right Now
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Strunkin'" CD/LP/Track Review Strunkin'
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Play All the Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Play All the Notes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "New Normal" CD/LP/Track Review New Normal
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "Genesis" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Bring Their ‘A’ Game" CD/LP/Track Review Bring Their ‘A’ Game
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 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!