by Edward Blanco
Rich Wetzel is a Holton-Leblanc trumpet artist, clinician, chairman of the Tacoma Jazz Festival and representative of Conn-Selmer, leading manufacturer and distributor of band and orchestral instruments. He is also the leader of the fourteen-piece Tacoma-based Groovin Higher Jazz Orchestra, which offers their third album and first studio recording, The Mayn Thing, in a tribute to the late great trumpeter, Maynard Ferguson, whose music and influence have provided an inspiration to Wetzel.
As was often the case, Ferguson ...read more
by Jack Bowers
Trumpeter Rich Wetzel may be leading a pretty darned good big band out on the left coast in Tacoma, WA, but it’s hard to say for sure, as the evidence on the band’s second album, Live!, suggests that the microphones may have been inadvertently placed somewhere north of Seattle. We exaggerate, of course, to make a point, which is that the over-all sound quality on the album is, shall we say, somewhat less than pristine -- although there’s no doubt ...read more
by Harvey Siders
Jazz and Blues come in all hues. The basic sounds of jazz and blues that we have been weaned on are so enduring, so indestructible, they show up in rock, country, pop, Dixieland, every idiom from Afro-Cuban to Zydeco...from hip-hop to be-bop. They also form the basis of much of the big band swing heard on a new, double disc, Live At Jazz Bones," featuring the Groovin' Higher Jazz Orchestra.
Its leader, trumpeter Rich Wetzel, has gathered, with missionary zeal, ...read more
by Jack Bowers
More swinging big–band Jazz from Washington State. On the heels of Kevin Seeley’s superb Emerald City ensemble from Seattle ( Alive and Swingin', SMP 0004) comes this two–disc set by trumpeter Rich Wetzel’s far less polished but no less earnest Groovin’ Higher Orchestra, recorded in concert at Jazzbones in Tacoma, where the band has been performing for standing–room–only audiences. As Wetzel writes in the liner notes, the concert was transcribed “exactly as it happened, the way Jazz was meant to ...read more