The contrast between the voices of Miles Osland and Vince DiMartino makes this edition of big band arrangements more adventuresome than most. Recorded at the University of Kentucky's Singletary Center a year ago, this is one brings out the best yet from Lexington's Arts capital. Osland "sings" through his horn with a blues-tinged expression that recalls Cannonball Adderley, while DiMartino sparkles with a sweet tone and well-placed articulation. The trumpeter doesn't just allow those notes to appear anywhere; he places each one carefully, right on target. The extra care results in one beautiful ballad feature after another. The arrangement of "It Might as Well Be Spring," for example, sets the trumpeter "naked," out in front of the band, to do or die. DiMartino swallows up the peripheral sound that emerges from his accompaniment and then lays it all out before the listener with polished care. Like pearls, his tones drop tastefully with an expensive air. Arrangements by Sammy Nestico, Raleigh Dailey, Osland and Willie Maiden place the band in a good position for dynamic variety. True to form, recording engineer David Henderson places each soloist where he can be appreciated best, while capturing the band's crests and valleys accurately. Osland's features provide a tour through jazz's big band corners: swing, Spanish classical, hot bop, and cool ballads. His romp through Geoff Keezer's "Masaman" links alto sax with flugelhorn in a modern approach to harmony and rhythm. Dailey's arrangement of Mingus' "Pussy Cat Dues" captures the intended spirit and makes room for a double handful of soloists. The charts provide the framework and these artists make it work. Osland and DiMartino provide obvious leadership, as well as a paradigm for putting superb musicianship together with a swinging affair.
Track Listing: Real Life; Aim for the Heart; Niece Piece; Spring is Here; My Secret Love; It Might as well Be Spring; Tears in Her Eyes; A Night in Tunisia; Tu y My Cancion; Fantasia on an Ellington Theme; Pussy Cat Dues; Masaman; Trumpet Tune; I Was a Fool (to Let You Go); I
Personnel: Vince DiMartino- trumpet, flugelhorn; Miles Osland- soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet, piccolo, C flute, alto flute, bass flute; Hunt Butler- alto saxophone, flute; Mike Tracy- alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute; Gordon Towell, David Anderson- tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute; Lisa Osland- baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Rob Parton, Rich Byrd, Steve Bottom, Tom Brawner, Rick Cook- trumpet; David Henderson, Dave Ashley, Brad Kerns- trombone; Lee Watts- trombone, bass trombone; Hap Bourgois- bass trombone; Raleigh Dailey- piano; Will Renshaw- guitar on "I Was a Fool;" Larry Nelson- bass; Jason Tiemann- drums; Jim Campbell- vibes, orchestra bells, percussion.