9

Jim Stranahan Little Big Band: Migration to Higher Ground

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Jim Stranahan Little Big Band: Migration to Higher Ground The big band sounds gets an infusion of swing and swagger on Migration to Higher Ground, a session of high-octane straight ahead jazz from Jim Stranahan's dynamic Little Big Band. The album has Denver-based saxophonist and educator Jim Stranahan leading a twelve-piece ensemble comprised of some of the best players in Colorado gyrating through six big band arrangements. In addition, the leader also includes four tracks recorded in a sextet format that also features son and drummer, Colin Stranahan of the jazz trio group Stranahan, Zaleski and Rosato (pianist Glen Zaleski and bassist Rick Rosato).

On tap, six original swinging compositions delivered in a hard-driving fashion from the little big band that could. Opening the music is the Afro-Cuban romp "Mambo Facil" which, though the saxophonist writes, "represents a bullfighter...in Spain...depicting the battle," remains soundly grounded in core Afro-Cuban rhythms. From South of the border to the heart of jazz town, "Bayou Bounce" provides a funky beat inspired by the New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring a strong tuba bass line and pronounced horn play. The Stranahan original "Paul and Dave," dedicated to Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck, is perhaps the most ambitious chart of the album with fine solo moments from several players among them, guitarist Mike Abbott and flautist Joe Anderies.

The band opens up with a blasting brass on the propulsive Afro-Cuban elements of the title track cautioning the listener to track to a higher ground lest the rumbling beat knocks one over. "Blues and a Half" is the first tune performed by the sextet and features trumpeter Brad Goode and pianist Zaleski in the forefront with Stranahan's alto saxophone voice leading the music thereafter. The repertoire also features three cover tunes including a perky rendition of Stanahan's favorite Brubeck piece, "In Your Own Sweet Way" showcasing superb solos and a blistering reed section, and Sonny Rollins' classic "St. Thomas" highlighting son Colin on a pounding drum solo leading one of the finest rhythm section's around.

Stranahan saves his personal best for last performing all of the saxophone lines on the Charlie Parker classic "Donna Lee" backed up by his son's trio, this barn burner caps off one of the finest big band/small group ensemble recordings on the jazz landscape. Migration to Higher Ground is nothing short of spectacular as saxophonist Jim Stranahan and his Little Big Band pack quite a punch on this small package of pure pleasure.

Track Listing: Mambo Facil; Bayou Bounce; Paul and Dave; Migration to Higher Ground; Blues and a Half; In Your Own Sweet Way; St. Thomas; Straight From the Source; Donna Lee.

Personnel: Jim Stranahan: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; Caleb Starbuck: alto saxophone; Joe Anderies: alto flute, tenor saxophone; Chuck Schneider: tenor saxophone; Brad Goode: lead trumpet; Hugh Ragin: trumpet; Wade Sander: trombone; Ben Faust: sousaphone (2); Justin Adams: piano; Mike Abbott: guitar; Bijoux Barbosa: bass; Todd Reid: drums; Glen Zaleski: piano (5, 7, 8, 9); Rick Rosato: bass(5, 7, 8, 9); Colin Stranahan: drums(5, 7, 8, 9).

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Tapestry Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations" CD/LP/Track Review Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Westering Home" CD/LP/Track Review Westering Home
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Three Octaves Above The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Three Octaves Above The Sun
by James Nadal
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain" CD/LP/Track Review So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Anthology - Bigger Than Life" CD/LP/Track Review Anthology - Bigger Than Life
by Doug Collette
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Seeing Is Believing" CD/LP/Track Review Seeing Is Believing
by Jim Trageser
Published: December 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!