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A rehearsal band out of Southern California organized by business man/trumpet player John Fick that big band label Sea Breeze has wisely decided to add to its catalogue. There aren't many recognizable names here. Fick played with both the Jimmy Dorsey and Harry James Orchestras, Jim Quam spent time with Pete Rugolo and trombonist Dave Woodley has recorded with Gary Urwin's big band. Urwin, incidentally, contributed several arrangements and was the overall supervisor for this production. Most of the players in the group have labored in anonymity, not for lack of talent, but for lack of opportunity, a problem that plagues the jazz field these days. Each arrangement is pretty much structured the same, ensemble work, followed by solos then ending with more ensemble, either the whole band or featuring one section. The soloing is outstanding. Tenor saxmen Tony Garcia and Lance Rickman feed off each other's ideas on "Slow Boat to China". Steve Stassi contributes a Harry James like melodic solo on "Summer of `42". Michie Sahara plays girl singer on three cuts and is quite impressive.
As good as the solos are, the ensemble work is more impressive. The band strikes just the right balance between tight and loose. They are tight in the sense that they are well disciplined and rehearsed, but not so tense as to be up tight. Also they understand a band is not judged by how loud it can play, but how it swings. If swinging were money, these guys would all be rich. This is another very good big band release by Sea Breeze and is recommended.
Track Listing: On Green Dolphin Street; Over the Rainbow; Send in the Clowns*; I'm all Smiles; I Thought About You; Stella by Starlight; As Time Goes By*; You Took Advantage of Me; Laura; Los Gringos; Stompin' at the Savoy*; Slow Boat to China; Summer of `42; Pull out all the Stops
Personnel: John Fick - Leader/Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Bobby Burns, Steve Stassi, Michael Fleming, Jack Feierman - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Dave Woodley, Bob Galeotti. Michael McCully, Steve Ferguson - Trombone; Jim Quam - Alto & Soprano Sax/Flute; Corky Long - Alto Sax/Clarinet/Flute; Tony Garcia, Lance Rickman - Tenor Sax/Clarinet/Flute; Larry Dougherty - Baritone Sax/Flute; Alan Oldfield, Bill Fulton - Piano; Mike Flick - Bass; Ray Frisby - Drums; Joe Kearney - Guitar; Michie Sahara* - Vocals