446

Mike Longo's New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble: Oasis

Sean Patrick Fitzell By

Sign in to view read count
Mike Longo's New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble: Oasis The golden age of big bands ebbed long ago and the economics and logistics of maintaining large groups in today's music climate make a comeback unlikely. Despite these difficulties, there are champions of the big band—those who don't assemble all-star groupings merely for one-offs, but develop their music with a stable band.

One such standard bearer, pianist Mike Longo, leads his seventeen-piece New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble on their third CD, Oasis. Working with four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, guitar, bass, drums, piano, and guest vocals on originals and standards, Longo may not reinvent big band music, but he rejuvenates it with contemporary touches and trim, unpredictable arrangements that spark enthusiastic performances.

A trio of Longo compositions opens the set, establishing the tone with tightly woven ensemble playing and surprise sonic elements, such as Matt Snyder's bass clarinet solo and trombonist Sam Burtis' nod to Monk on "Bag of Bones." With taut arrangements clocking in under eight minutes, there's not a parade of soloists on each piece; instead, the few soloists make their points quickly and succinctly, enlivening the tunes and avoiding repetition. Bassist Santi Debriano puts his melodious stamp on the episodic "Chanson," while tenor saxophonist Frank Perowsky punctuates the measured blues of "Mike's Lament" and the briskly paced "Infusion," with its advanced harmonic schemes.

Other modernist influences are displayed in "The Godfather," inspired by the legendary James Brown and featuring a dynamic turn by guitarist Adam Rafferty. Even classic standards are refreshed, using clever rhythmic variations—a salsa beat for "Alone Together" and a bossa nova groove on "The Night We Called It a Day," also boasting Hilary Gardner's breezy vocals for additional sheen.

The results on Oasis are satisfyingly listenable, offering the classic big band sound without staid clichés and leaden chart readings.


Track Listing: 1. Bag of Bones (5:43) 2. Chanson (6:25) 3. Mike's Lament (4:57) 4. Love Walked In (1:50) 5. Alone Together (6:18) 6. Infusion (5:29) 7. The Godfather (6:21) 8. Lazy Afternoon (7:17) 9. Covenant City (4:20) 10. Nocturnal Sea Voyage (7:33) 11. The Night We Called It a Day (6:21) 12. No More Blues (5:10) 13. Song of My Dream (for Duke) (5:54)

Personnel: Mike Longo--piano, Adam Rafferty--guitar, Santi Debriano--bass, Darryll Pellegrini--drums, Bob Magnuson--alto sax, Lee Greene--alto sax, Frank Perowsky--tenor sax, Gerry Neiwood--tenor sax, Matt Snyder--baritone sax, Clarire Daly--baritone sax, Gary Guzio--trumpet, Joe Magnarelli--trumpet, Nubate Isles--trumpet, Freddie Hendrix--trumpet, Waldron Ricks--trumpet, Seneca Black--trumpet, Bob Suttman--trombone, Sam Burtis--trombone, Eric Goletz--trombone, Jonathan Greenberg--trombone, Curtis Fowlkes--trombone, Don Mikkelsen--trombone, Special Guest: Hilary Gardner--vocals

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: CAP | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Till They Lay Me Down" CD/LP/Track Review Till They Lay Me Down
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Boss Tenor" CD/LP/Track Review Boss Tenor
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Porcupine Meat" CD/LP/Track Review Porcupine Meat
by James Nadal
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Guitar Fantasies" CD/LP/Track Review Guitar Fantasies
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: November 2, 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!