433

Portland Jazz Orchestra: Nor'easter

Nicholas F. Mondello By

Sign in to view read count
Portland Jazz Orchestra: Nor'easter Although the era of the gig-to-gig road-traveling big band is defunct, save for a few ghost bands, fine regional big bands continue to thrive around the United States. From Los Angeles, killer bands such as Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band and Tom Kubis's and Gary Urwin's respective ensembles, to the East Coast where groups such as Tommy Igoe's Birdland Band, the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Keith Pray's ensemble, Kenny Hadley's and others still fill venues with swinging jazz. The road may beckon, but, the economics nowadays don't.

Nor'easter , the debut CD from Maine's Portland Jazz Orchestra, continues and heralds the big band tradition in a marvelously entertaining, no-frills manner. Leader and fine trombonist Chris Oberholtzer has pulled together some of New England's best players and writers. With talent onboard to challenge some of the studio musician-comprised bands above, the PJO shines and draws positive comparisons. The music offered is intelligent, enjoyable and swinging.

The selections in Nor'easter are eclectic, with a bit of everything old and new. Benny Golson's "Killer Joe," gets a terrific new look in a faster-than-usual tempo, with a fierce saxophone battle between tenorist Marc LaForce and altoist Kyle Hardy. The quote clipped from Hubert Laws solo on Quincy Jones "Walking in Space" is an inside-hip touch, while Larry Williams' ballsy baritone peppers "Goin' Outside."

Trumpeters Craig Skeffington and Chris Marsh each shine in their solo excursions. Oberholtzer steals moments on the Oliver Nelson-like arrangement of "It's a Waltz ... Man," while "Anna's Song," composed and introduced with taste by pianist Chris Humphrey, has lovely Stan Kenton overtones. The rhythm section cooks on Bob Florence's "Carmelo's by the Freeway." All in all, the eight selections provide quality, not quantity; although the performances here are so good more would be marvelous.

In meteorological terms, a nor'easter describes a weather event—a storm of rain, wind, and biting chill. With Nor'easter, Portland Jazz Orchestra does, indeed, storm on with terrific charts, absolutely first-rate ensemble work and inspired solo playing that combines for a heavy downpour of talent and swing. Bundle up.

Track Listing: Killer Joe; It's A Waltz ... Man; Goin' Outside; The Vending Machine Isn't Broke (The Light Just don't Work); Anna's Song; Paquito's Revenge; One for Philippe; Carmelo's by the Freeway.

Personnel: Sean Potter: alto sax (lead); Kyle Hardy: alto sax (lead 6); David Wells: tenor sax; Marc LaForce: tenor sax; Larry Williams: baritone sax; Chris Oberholtzer: trombone (lead); Willie Johnson: trombone; Mark Manduca: trombone (lead 4); Tom Michaud: bass trombone; Doug Owens: trumpet (lead 2, 4-7); Bill Karow: trumpet (lead 1, 3, 8); Craig Skeffington: trumpet; Chris MArsh: trumpet; Terry White: trumpet; Chris Humphrey: piano; Kim Bird: bass; Brad Ciechomski: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "King Of Xhosa" CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 2016
Read "Quantum Man" CD/LP/Track Review Quantum Man
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Anthology - Bigger Than Life" CD/LP/Track Review Anthology - Bigger Than Life
by Doug Collette
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "Big City Love" CD/LP/Track Review Big City Love
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 24, 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!