Based in California's Silicon Valley, the Full Spectrum Jazz Big Band enjoys a wide variety of music, from bebop to Latin Jazz, fusion and swing, playing with feeling. Featuring talented soloists who openly share their adventures, the band has many strengths. The musicians are cohesive and they balance each other well. The band's arrangements are designed to provide a mellow backdrop for soloing, however, so there's not a lot going on back there. The organization is just as proficient at putting up a shimmering wall of sound behind its swinging singer as it is flying a son montuno behind its Latin flavors.
Dave Brubeck's "Raggy Waltz features the program's best musical arrangement, and the band's trombone section gets into it with an old-fashioned battle royale. Again, the band's concept flows from its soloists; the rest is just accompaniment toward that focus. Trumpeters Roger Levinson and Dan Hallock trade phrases on "Night in Tunisia with fire in their eyes. The band's driving arrangement also features tenor saxophonist Chuck Wasekanes in a showcase aria, while drummer Carlos Almeida and timbalero Willie Garza add a vivid exchange.
Bob Florence's "Willowcrest provides an exciting outing for the band. Here, brass and saxophone sections challenge each other with virtual rocket attacks. Soloists Mike Humphrey (trombone) and Don Olivet (alto) balance this one quite well with soulful strides of their own. By getting the band's sections involved in a lively musical conversation, this arrangement displays the group's most favorable side.
Popular songs such as "Somewhere Out There and "So Many Stars prove uplifting, with soloists who prod with feeling. However, the band returns to its role of accompanist, leaving a large portion of these selections open to plain vanilla flavors that lack the zest of an enlightened big band arrangement.
Track Listing: Au Privave; No Persigas a las Mujeres (Don
Personnel: Roger Levinson, Dan Hallock, Todd Gray, Andy Scott: trumpet, flugelhorn; Gena Hassan: flute; Ruben Salcido: alto saxophone, flute; Don Olivet: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Paul Paternoster, Chuck Wasekanes: tenor saxophone; Jon Hassan: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Mike Humphrey, Bill Rhea, Doug Miner, Marc Eaman: trombone; Steve Barnhill: bass trombone; Walter Bankovitch: piano; Mike Cohen: guitar; John Pursel: electric bass; Carlos Almeida: drums; Willie Garza: percussion; Duane Lawrence: vocals.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.