Sea Breeze Jazz continues to be the major recorder of contemporary big band music. It's reputation for providing a venue for the best that's out there is in no way hurt by the 4th album of the San Francisco-based Jazz Garden Big Band under the leadership of Dave Eshelman. This particular release is dedicated to the life of a family friend and teacher, Milagro del Carmen Orantes.
Arrangements on this CD are Eshelman's, except for one. They feature full throated section voices as well as adventurous solos, including several by Eshelman on trombone, not the least of which is on Horace Silver's "Lonely Woman." There are also some unusual and intriguing combinations of instruments for duets such as "Ralph's Piano Waltz" which features a call and response conversation between the Eshelman trombone and Randy Vincent's guitar. One of the more fascinating tracks is the medley of "A Night in Tunisia" and "Caravan" which opens with dissonant voicing against a backdrop of the opening measures of the Ellington/Tizol classic. For more than 13 minutes the listener is treated to a potpourri of sound emanating from this very large aggregation both in ensemble and in more unusual instrumental combinations. Eshelman's 30 plus years experience serves him well here and in the other well conceived charts he has written for this album. What makes this particular track so engaging is the way it combines the exotic sounds of the camel routes of the Mid East as represented by the alto of Rory Snyder, with the bop underpinning provided by Steve Campos' trumpet. One outcome is the revelation of how the two are closely related. Another winner for the Jazz Garden band and for Sea Breeze. Visit Dave and his group at www.jazzgarden.com.
The world of jazz is a musical space with a complex history and haunting appeal--a space to revisit and celebrate. It’s that
amazing moment when you hear a really great song you haven't heard in years and you still know the tune and every word.