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Cecilia Coleman Big Band: Oh Boy!

Edward Blanco By

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The phrase "Oh boy," can be a statement of excitement, an expression of an event that grabs your attention or, in this case, an appropriate reaction to the swinging orchestrations from the Cecilia Coleman Big Band. Oh Boy! is a powerful draw and the debut album from pianist/composer Coleman's new group, presenting thundering big band music of a contemporary nature. Best known for her various working quintet's that have produced five albums since 1992, Coleman formed the group in January 2010 after writing several big band charts for others which in turn, inspired a rehearsal band of her own.

No novice to the large ensemble setting, the pianist previously recorded with the Mark Masters Ensemble of the American Jazz Institute. Though a longtime resident of New York City, Coleman is actually a native of Long Beach, CA, where she commutes regularly to teach at California State University at Long Beach. The Coleman band consists of friends and other musicians she has worked with since 1999, and boasts some of the finest players from the New York area. With renowned saxophonists Peter Brainin and Bobby Porcelli among the mix of musicians that also includes tenorist Stan Killian trombonists Matt McDonald, Sam Burtis and Broadway trumpeter Jeff Wilfore.

Playing a few simple bars and disguising what's to come, Coleman introduces "Liar, Liar," a truthfully explosive piece featuring Frank Basile' s blistering baritone saxophone solo, to brassy accompaniment. The enthralling "Dance" follows with the same electricity, delivering another forceful statement and readily affirming the album's muscular sound. "Magpie" is a sprawling, melody-rich sweet tune, with pronounced voices from the reeds and horns in a more mid-tempo arrangement.

"Lonesome Journey" is the project's most sophisticated and ambitious piece, containing its share of twists and turns throughout the almost ten-minute duration. The title track reveals the swinging upbeat and lively texture that made it the disc's natural title choice. All is not swing however, as the balladic "Until Then" and the lightly-structured "Because" offer a departure from the main thrust of the album, as well as featuring brief but sparkling solo work from the pianist.

Cecilia Coleman never set out to become a big band leader, stating that it was "never a dream of mine to have a big band," but the Cecilia Coleman Big Band is her new reality—and Oh Boy!, what a swinging affair, this very first recording effort turns out to be. This is classic big band music infused with a bolt of raw energy and mounds of excitement.

Track Listing: Liar, Liar; Dance; Pearl; Magpie; Walk Away; Lonseome Journey; Oh Boy!; Until Then; Princess; #1; Because.

Personnel: Cecilia Coleman: piano; Tim Givens: bass; Jeff Brillinger: drums; Peter Brainin: soprano saxophone; Bobby Porcelli: alto saxophone, flute; Stephan Kammerer: alto saxophone, flute; Geoff Vidal: tenor saxophone; Stan Killian: tenor saxophone; Frank Basile: baritone saxophone; Jeff Wilfore: trumpet; Hardin Butcher: trumpet; Kerry Mackillop: trumpet; John Eckert: trumpet; Don Sickler: trumpet (4); Matt McDonald: trombone; Mike Fahn: trombone; Sam Burtis: trombone; Joe Randazzo: trombone.

Title: Oh Boy! | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced

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