61

The Big Band Convention: Live at the Rheinl

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Are there any less–than–stellar big bands in Germany? Surely there must be — but the Big Band Convention isn’t one of them, an observation that is pressed home emphatically from the opening measures of Don Menza’s electrifying “Blues for Uncommon Kids,” recorded, as was everything else on this consistently impressive album, without a safety net at its regular watering–hole, the Rheinländer club in Cologne. Our thanks to baritone saxophonist Martin Schäfer (who’s a standout on his showcase, Bob Florence’s graceful “Bluephoria”) for sending along a copy. When I reached track three, “Laura,” I had to scan the booklet to see if it said “featuring Phil Woods” — but no, that’s only alto Stefan Pfeifer, sounding more like Woods than Phil probably does most days, even bending or slurring notes at the proper intervals. If “Laura” is temperate and reserved, Sammy Nestico’s gospel–tinged “Tall Cotton,” which follows, is splashy and sociable, with muted solos to match by trombonist Bert Conzen and an uncredited trumpeter. Florence also wrote “A Soundsketch,” which handsomely underscores Frank Jacobi’s persuasive tenor. Completing the well–designed program are Benny Golson’s captivating “Whisper Not,” Oliver Nelson’s lyrical “Stolen Moments,” Count Basie’s venerable “One O’Clock Jump,” and the engaging standards “I Thought About You” (arranged by Tom Kubis, featuring trombonist Günter Bollmann) and “I’ll Be Seeing You” (arranged by Mike Barone, featuring trumpeter Martin Reuthner). Besides the soloists already mentioned, there are incisive comments by trumpeter Frank Engel, guitarist Bruno Müller and drummer Jürgen Pfeifer on “Blues for Uncommon Kids,” Jacobi, Reuthner and tenor Christian Torkewitz on “Whisper Not,” flugel Volker Goetze and alto André Cimiotti on “Stolen Moments,” and Jacobi, Conzen, Reuthner, Müller, pianist Jürgen Grimm and trombonist Richard Hellenthal on “One O’Clock Jump.” The rhythm section (Grimm, Müller, Jürgen Pfeifer, bassist Jochen Schaal) is quick and powerful, and the brass and reeds leave scant room for complaint either. A frequently spectacular concert date, enhanced by high–quality sound and generous 70:20 playing time and easily recommended.

Contact: ELK Music GmbH, Aachener Strasse 1112A, D–50858, Köln, Germany. Phone +49 2234 941023; e–mail M.Launhardt@elkmusic.com. Web site, www.elkmusic.com. The Big Band Convention, Martin Schäfer, phone / fax +49 221 3685390; web site, www.bigbandconvention.de


Track Listing: Blues for Uncommon Kids; Whisper Not; Laura; Tall Cotton; Bluephoria; Stolen Moments; I Thought About You; A Soundsketch; I

Personnel: Stefan Pfeifer, conductor; J

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: ELK Music | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Umbrella Weather" CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Ripple" CD/LP/Track Review Ripple
by Bob Kenselaar
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Take Me To The Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Take Me To The Alley
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Seven Storey Mountain V" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Storey Mountain V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Miniatures" CD/LP/Track Review Miniatures
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 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!