Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

262

The UMass Jazz Ensemble 1: Live!

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The University of Massachusetts Jazz Ensemble I, whose debut album, Pay the Fiddler, earned a place on our Top Ten list in Cadence magazine of the best recordings of ’99, continues to impress on these live sessions in which the ensemble is joined on three numbers by New York–based alto saxophonist Dick Oatts. As on the earlier disc, director Jeff Holmes’ choice of songs is exemplary, and the ensemble scampers merrily through them as to the manor born. The concert opens on a radiant note with trombonist Paul McKee’s marvelous arrangement of Victor Young’s “Beautiful Love,” one of the selections on which Oatts is the featured soloist (the others are Ted Nash’s “5 1/2 Weeks” and Bob Brookmeyer’s “Ding Dong Ding”). Track two, Thad Jones’ Basie–esque “Walkin’ About,” is another gem with sharp solos by tenor Nathan Childers, alto Brian Sacawa, guitarist Mike Dowell, trumpeter Doug LeBlanc, bassist Alec Derian and pianist Joe Green. Childers, on soprano, is showcased on Chick Corea’s “Tones for Joan’s Bones,” shares the spotlight with Oatts (also on soprano) and Green on “Ding Dong Ding” and solos on tenor and soprano on Green’s sinuous composition, “Isolation” (with director Holmes leading the able–bodied trumpet section). Oatts is heard on two altos, curved and straight (the latter midway in range between alto and soprano) with trombonist Ben Griffin, drummer George Arsenault and pianist David Haines on the graceful bossa “5 1/2 Weeks.” The ensemble also performs a medley of three tunes from George Gershwin’s folk opera Porgy & Bess, the first of which, “Summertime,” uses the Gil Evans arrangement and Melissa Motew’s muted trumpet to kindle memories of the classic Miles Davis recording. Isabelle Wolfmann arranged and sings on “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” with the chart more successful than the vocal, while Keith Foley arranged “There’s a Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon for New York” (in a loosely swinging groove with solo to match by tenor David Loy Song and a nice flugel lead by Erika Schafer). A charming Latin motif accentuates the fleet-footed "Descendo a Serra" and "Um a Zero," each wonderfully performed by the twelve-member Choro Ensemble. The big band rings down the curtain with the quirky, explosive "Ding Dong Ding," performed as well here as we've heard anywhere. While recording quality is on the whole commendable, there's no doubting that this is a live date, with the drums in particular producing an unequivocal "in-concert" sound. But that's not a negative, as sections and soloists are reasonably well-defined and clearly heard. If this doesn't quite equal Pay the Fiddler, it's an admirable session on its own terms, and is easily recommended.

Contact:Prof. Jeff Holmes, director of Jazz Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003; phone 413–545–6046, or Dr. Ernest May, chairman, Dept. of Music & Dance; fax 413–545–2092.


Track Listing: Beautiful Love; Walkin

Personnel: Jeff Holmes, director, lead trumpet (track 8); Nathan Childers, alto, soprano, tenor sax, flute; Liz Matta, alto sax, flute; David Loy Song, Michael Carey, tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Brian Sacawa, baritone, alto sax, bass clarinet; Eric Melley, Erika Schafer, Brian Koning, Melissa Motew, Jim West, trumpet, flugelhorn; Doug LeBlanc, trumpet; Ben Griffin, Chris Glanville, trombone; David Brien, trombone, tuba; Michael Benoit, bass trombone; Missy Haney, horn, trombone; Adam Porter, tuba; Erin Lylis, Stacey Ganezko, Alison Young, horn; Caryn Katz, piccolo, alto flute, flute; Kristina Tobaisson, flute, alto flute; Robert Branch, Mike Dowell, guitar; Joe Green, piano, composer, arranger; David Haines, piano; Genevieve Rose, Alec Derian, bass; George Arsenault, Shaun Kelly, drums; Jerry Pearce, vibes, percussion; Rene Gonzalez, percussion; Isabelle Wolfmann (6), voice, arranger; Jessica Matchett (6), bassoon. Choro Ensemble

Title: Live! | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: JEI

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Jersey" CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "The Organ Grinder" CD/LP/Track Review The Organ Grinder
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Roscanna" CD/LP/Track Review Roscanna
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 1, 2018
Read "Sing House" CD/LP/Track Review Sing House
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017