195

Montclair Women's Big Band: MWBB

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Montclair Women's Big Band: MWBB Move over DIVA, SWOJO, Kit McClure, Maiden Voyage and other all-women big bands; you've got company. Even though the new kid on the block is only eight years old, she plays with perception and maturity well beyond her years. Born in Oakland, California and named in honor of that city's Montclair Women's Cultural Arts Club, she is fast establishing a reputation as one of the most formidable new jazz ensembles, male or female, on the West Coast. And now, thanks to her debut album, the rest of us can hear what all the excitement is about.

Formed in 1998 by trumpeter Ellen Seeling and music producer Barbara Price, the Montclair Women's Big Band has wasted no time getting up to speed. Its initial recording unveils a sharp, well-rehearsed ensemble that's brimming with enthusiasm and self-assurance. The rhythm section (Tammy Hall, piano; Jan Martinelli, bass; Allison Miller, drums) is especially impressive, while Seeley presides over a sharp and forceful trumpet section. That's not to slight the trombone or reed players, who more than pull their weight.

The vocals (there are five), which can often be a drag, are actually among the highlights here, thanks to the singular talents of Vicki Randle (whom you may have seen on The Tonight Show, seated to Kevin Eubanks' right and playing percussion), Pamela Rose and Linda Tillery. Randle enlivens "For Once in My Life and "Come Rain or Come Shine and duets buoyantly with Tillery on "The Lady Is a Tramp. Tillery is charming on her feature, "Fly Me to the Moon, Rose likewise on "Taking a Chance on Love.

The remainder of the program is equally rewarding, as one would expect with meaty charts by Ernie Wilkins ("The Brownsville Express ), Don Menza ("Groovin' Hard ), Tom Kubis ("Teach Me Tonight ), Dave Wolpe ("Caravan ), John LaBarbera ("Filthy McNasty ), Glenn Osser ("Quiet Nights ) and Mike Tomaro ("Pump It Up ) lending the band—and the listener—ample nourishment. As for soloists, the MWBB unsheathes an arsenal of meticulous sharpshooters including Hall, Miller, Seeling, altos Mad Duran and Sonya Jason, trumpeters Christy Dana and Marina Garza, trombonists Sarah Cline and Mara Fox, and baritone Amelia Catalano, none of whom misses the mark.

The MWBB is a welcome addition to the growing ranks of superlative women's big bands. While popular dogma once affirmed that members of the fairer sex couldn't possibly play jazz as well as their male counterparts, women themselves have emphatically laid that misconception to rest—and here's one more nail in the coffin. Trust me, your ears won't know the difference. This is, simply put, premium-grade big band jazz carefully blended for high mileage and maximum pleasure.


Track Listing: The Brownsville Express; For Once in My Life; Rivers Invitation; Come Rain or Come Shine; Groovin Hard; Teach Me Tonight; The Lady Is a Tramp; Quiet Nights; Taking a Chance on Love; Caravan; A String of Pearls; Filthy McNasty; Fly Me to the Moon; Pump It Up (61:11).

Personnel: Ellen Seeling: director, trumpet; Tami Ellis, Christy Dana, Marina Garza: trumpet; Barbara Speed, Sonya Jason, Mad Duran, Jean Fineberg, Annelise Zamula, Amelia Catalano: reeds; Mara Fox, Sarah Cline, Pat Mullan, Becca Burrington: trombone; Tammy Hall: piano; Jan Martinelli: bass; Allison Miller: drums; Vicki Randle, Linda Tillery, Pamela Rose: vocals.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Pivotal Records | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Streams
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Steam In The Casa" CD/LP/Track Review Steam In The Casa
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "Ullr" CD/LP/Track Review Ullr
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix" CD/LP/Track Review The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Wet Paint" CD/LP/Track Review Wet Paint
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Regards To You II" CD/LP/Track Review Regards To You II
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 4, 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!