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The proceedings commence with Herborn’s composition, titled “The Blizzard” featuring the forceful and dynamic tenor sax work of Gary Thomas. Here, Thomas does an effective job of mirroring the often bouncy yet charging nature of the rhythms in concert with the stalwart, brash and upfront arrangement. On, “The Blizzard”, trumpet virtuoso Dave Ballou adds some garnish with a low key mid-register trumpet solo which underscores the high-spirited orchestration. McCoy Tyner’s “Contemplation” is warm, sonorous and features fine solos from trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Uri Caine and altoist Greg Osby. Gary Thomas’ composition “Gates Of Faces” is angular and hard-hitting. Here, Herborn does a fine job of emphasizing the linearity and sinewy nature of Thomas’ notorious hard hitting or at times, doomsday compositional approach. Monk’s “Misterioso” is textured, colorful and a prime vehicle for pianist Uri Caine who contrasts Monk via a lush yet mainstream “classic jazz” approach. Jackie McLean’s “Omega” is given the in-your-face treatment supported by a strong and slightly funk induced backbeat. On “Omega”, Gene Jackson delivers the knockout blow with intense, full steam ahead drumming as Thomas, Eubanks and guitarist Marvin Sewell get some time to stretch their wares. The closer, Herborn’s “Rubzap” is a powerful composition with firm, well-stated soloing by Ballou and Osby. On this piece, Herborn throws in a few tasty Stan Kenton-ish horn choruses, which equates to a rousing yet heterogeneous arrangement.
Not being familiar with Herborn’s past work, this writer did enjoy Large although, the audio recording appeared somewhat flat and lessened the sense of dynamics normally found in large ensemble or big band recordings. Otherwise, Peter Herborn displays all the traits and characteristics of those who are among the new breed of jazz composer-arrangers. *** ½
Saxophones; Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, Miriam Kaul, Adam Kolker, Alex Stewart: Trumpets; Taylor Haskins, Dave Ballou, Dontae Winslow, John Swana: Trombones; Dan Gottshall, Robin Eubansk, Clark Gayton, Jeff Nelson: Guitar; Marvin Sewell: Piano: Uri Caine: Bass; John Hebert: Drums; Gene Jackson.