With special guests Bill Watrous and Pete Christlieb on board, this big band session really smokes. Gary Urwin's third CD recording puts both guests in the spotlight alongside the band's capable roster of Los Angeles all-stars.
The frequent musical conversations between Watrous and Christlieb (trading fours) gives Kindred Spirits a beautiful luster. Their sleek, smooth and playful antics provide the kind of animation that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Urwin's keen arrangements provide ample space for his two guests and other soloists to shine while emphasizing the creative interaction of his band's sections. The lower brass may pass the baton to the trumpets, for example, and they will converse with the saxophones while strolling anxiously over a strong rhythm section foundation. Urwin provides plenty of tension and release in his musical formula, creating unique sound combinations. He likes to introduce dissonance from time to time in order to balance the band's lyrical strides.
Watrous is featured on a slow, soul-stirring "Theme from Chinatown and a traditional look at "Danny Boy, where he employs the big, fat, gorgeous tone for which he's known. Sliding like butter, he sends his trombone over the waves to a distant shore and back, allowing the sky to border his graceful demeanor.
Christlieb is featured on "My Foolish Heart, "E.S.P. and "My Ship, where he turns loose his rapid-fire articulation and shows his love for a good melody. These familiar songs come around as old friends, while Urwin's arrangements ensure a thrilling adventure.
Urwin's Kindred Spirits brings both guests back together for a swingin' affair. The band provides a recommended, foot-stompin' session, while Watrous and Christlieb caress each melodic phrase as if it were a personal plea sewn directly to their hearts.
Personnel: Gary Urwin: leader, arranger; Wayne Bergeron, Bobby Shew, Rick Baptist/Mike McGuffey,
Warren Luening/Ron King, John Thomas/Dan Fornero: trumpet; Kim Richmond, Rusty
Higgins, Pete Christlieb, Dan Higgins/Jeff Driskill, John Mitchell: reeds; Charlie Loper, Alex
Iles, Dave Woodley: trombone; Rich Bullock: bass trombone; Christian Jacob: piano; Frank
Browne: guitar; Trey Henry: bass; Ralph Razze: drums. On selected tracks: John Yoakum:
English horn; Amy Shulman: harp; Michito Sanchez, Richie Gajate-Garcia: percussion.
Special guest Bill Watrous: trombone.