All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

147

Michael Pagan Big Band: Pag's Groove

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
The saxophones come prowling out, darkly, on "Essential Trivia," the opening track on Pag's Groove. Then the bass and vibes lighten the feeling, and the Michael Pagán Big Band starts the show off swinging. Gorgeous tones prevail, vivid colors splashing all over the charts. Composer/arranger/bandleader Michael Pagán's arrangements use a palette that includes all the colors, bright hues over grey washes, or twining, tapestry style, in and out of the deeper toned threads. It's hard to nail down his influences. Probably they're just too wide-ranging, too inclusive (though Ellington certainly figures in the mix); but the arrangements are lively, swinging animals, with a nice harmonic depth and a whole bunch of well-placed solo room.

With bold dynamics, Pagán has crafted an original and compelling big band sound. The band belts it out one minute, murmurs an intimate conversation the next, using deep dense harmonies that fade to horn solos in front of bass and drums, with bright dabs of piano or vibes slipped in.

The title tune brims with gorgeous soloing from trombonist John Hines and trumpeter Garner Pruitt as Pagán's composition pays tribute to the legendary "Bag's Groove," with vibraphonist Greg Harris in a Milt Jackson mode; listen to the leader's piano comping soft and subtle behind him.

All the tunes here are Pagán originals, except for the standard "Never Let Me Go," played with a downtempo grandeur and more layers of sound than you can pick up on just one or two listens.

A start-to-finish fine big band outing.

Track Listing: Essential Trivia; Lyric Interlude; Pag's Groove; Waltz for a Bad Hair Day; Never Let Me Go; Crazy Man's Game; More than a Friend; We're Almost There.

Personnel: Michael Pagan: leader, piano; Pete Olstad, Brad Goode, Garner Pruitt, Al Hood, Greg Gisbert: trumpet; Pete Lewis: alto and soprano saxophones, flute; Kurtis Adams: alto saxophone, flute; Tom Myer: tenor, soprano saxophone; Eric McGregor: tenor saxophone; Clare Church: baritone saxophone; Darren Kramer, John Hines, Kevin Buchanan: trombone (1-3, 6-8); Tom Ball: trombone (4, 5), euphonium (2, 7); Matt Plummer: bass trombone; Bill Kopper: guitar (2, 4-8); Greg Harris: vibraphone (1, 3); Bijoux Barbarosa: bass; Dave Rohlf: drums.

Title: Pag's Groove | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Capri Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
2+2

2+2

ARC - Artists Recording Collective
2018

buy
The Ottawa Sessions

The Ottawa Sessions

ARC - Artists Recording Collective
2015

buy
Keyboard Christmas

Keyboard Christmas

ARC - Artists Recording Collective
2012

buy
Three for the Ages

Three for the Ages

Capri Records
2010

buy
Twelve Preludes & Fugues Colorado Saxophone Quartet

Twelve Preludes &...

Tapestry Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Perfectly Unhappy" CD/LP/Track Review Perfectly Unhappy
by John Eyles
Published: June 4, 2018
Read "The Willisau Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Willisau Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "Dr. Quixotic's Traveling Exotics" CD/LP/Track Review Dr. Quixotic's Traveling Exotics
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 5, 2018
Read "Hunters & Scavengers" CD/LP/Track Review Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 28, 2017
Read "Modern Lore" CD/LP/Track Review Modern Lore
by Doug Collette
Published: February 11, 2018