394

The WDR Big Band Cologne: Prism -- The Music of Bill Dobbins and Peter Erskine

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
On Prism, recorded in 1995 (one track) and ’98, the WDR (West German Radio) ensemble from Cologne, another of Germany’s growing phalanx of exemplary big bands, places its indelible mark on five dynamic compositions by music director Bill Dobbins and three colorful essays penned by drummer Peter Erskine and arranged by Dobbins. While these charts are definitely aimed toward the serious–minded listener, they are always accessible and swing like a pendulum, thanks largely to Erskine and his able–bodied teammates in the rhythm section — pianist Frank Chastenier, bassist Paul Goldsby and guitarist Paul Shigihara (Milan Lulic on “Seibernetics”). The first half of the program was recorded in a studio, the second half in concert. The “live” section opens with Dobbins’ briskly percolating showcase for the trumpet section, “Lo Flame,” and includes the multi–faceted “Prism” (spotlighting Erskine and alto saxophonist Heiner Wiberny), Erskine’s expressive ballad “If Only I Had Known” and his polyrhythmic salute to “Bulgaria” (one section of which features no less than five soprano saxophones playing a counter–melody to the brass in ever–higher registers before Wiberny breaks free for a scorching soprano solo). The studio recordings that precede them encompass three works by Dobbins — “Lose Your Life (And It Will Surely Find You),” “Elegy” and (from ’95) “Seiberbetics,” an homage to the pioneering German musician and educator Matyas Seiber, alongside Erskine’s lyrical “Song for Jaco.” Besides Erskine, Wiberny, Chastenier, Goldsby and Shigihara, the WDR’s battle–hardened brigade of enterprising soloists includes tenors Olivier Peters and Rolf Römer, trombonists Ludwig Nuss and Henning Berg, baritone Jens Neufang and the entire trumpet section from ’98 — Klaus Osterloh, Rick Kiefer, Rob Bruynen, John Marshall and Andy Haderer — who ignite a smoldering fire under “Lo Flame.” Neufang, Haderer and Goldsby are especially persuasive on “Song for Jaco,” as are Wiberny (on alto) and Erskine on “Prism,” Erskine again on “Bulgaria” and Chastenier on his feature, “Elegy.” The WDR is a world–class big band, and Prism provides a sparkling showcase for its remarkable talents.

Track listing: Lose Your Life (And It Will Surely Find You); Elegy; Seibernetics; Song for Jaco; Lo Flame; Prism; If Only I Had Known; Bulgaria (71:27).


Personnel:

Bill Dobbins, music director; Heiner Wiberny, alto, soprano sax, flute, clarinet; Harald Rosenstein, alto, soprano sax, flute; Olivier Peters, tenor, soprano sax, flute; Rolf Romer, tenor, soprano sax, clarinet; Jens Neufang, baritone, soprano sax, bass clarinet; Andy Haderer, Rob Bruyner, Klaus Osterloh, Rick Kiefer, John Marshall, trumpet, flugelhorn; Dave Horler, Ludwig Nuss, Bernt Laukamp, Henning Berg (3), trombone; Lucas Schmid, Roy Deuvall (3), bass trombone; Frank Chastenier, piano; Paul Shigihara, Milan Lulic (3), guitar; John Goldsby, bass; Peter Erskine, drums.

Contact: Advance Music, V. Gruber GmBH, Maier

Title: Prism -- The Music of Bill Dobbins and Peter Erskine | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Advance Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "A Beautiful Story" CD/LP/Track Review A Beautiful Story
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "May I Introduce To You" CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "In The Past" CD/LP/Track Review In The Past
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 2, 2017
Read "The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "In Praise of Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review In Praise of Shadows
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.