67

Bob Lark and his Alumni Big Band: Reunion

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Bob Lark and his Alumni Big Band: Reunion Veteran jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn master Dr. Bob Lark has directed many big bands in more than 20 years as Director of Jazz Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. With Reunion, Lark reunites 22 musicians from those bands as his Alumni Big Band, debuting the group on a monster collection of powerful orchestrations. While the teacher provides the eleven original pieces, the class assignment was to pen the arrangements, as six of the alumni do so well here.

Saxophonists Jon Irabagon and Ted Hogarth, and drummers Dana Hall (Terrell Stafford) and Bob Rummage (Rob Parton's Jazztech Big Band and a professor at DePaul), are just a few of the many members of the band that have established themselves in the jazz world. It would certainly not be farfetched to assert that the caliber of players in this orchestra is world-class in every respect. Perhaps their common educational bond is one reason why. The one piece Lark did arrange on this project was the title score, drawing from the blues charts of Quincy Jones, Slide Hampton and Count Basie, and featuring the majority of the horn section in solo spots, as well as his own improvised flugelhorn salute to Clark Terry.

Hogarth's husky baritone and Irabagon's alto are the highlights of "Mad Dan's," one of two Dominic Marino arrangements. The other, "Until You," captures Lark, pianist Ryan Cohan and Irabagon on outstanding solos. Bassist Joe Policastro, trombonist Tim Coffman, tenor man Glenn Kostur and Lark do the honors on Thomas Matta's brassy arrangement of "First Steps." The first delicate ballad, "Cathy's Song," is a musical portrait for Lark's wife and he performs the solo feature warmly on flugelhorn. "Winter's Touch," the other soft ballad, finds Lark's rich flugelhorn voice fronting lush orchestrations from the band.

The band stays on the lighter side with the gentle, bossa-styled "Abruzzi," highlighting solo performances from arranger and trumpeter Kirk Garrison, vibraphonist Justin Thomas and Chris Madsen on alto. The swing is alive and well on the lively "Suggestions," but not as overtly hot as on the set's sizzling "Tango Caliente." The rare Latin-styled number, one of the more forceful pieces on the album, offers the Doctor (this time on trumpet) one last solo outing alongside trombonist Craig Sunken.

Producing a classic big band sound in the finest tradition of West Coast contemporary and progressive jazz orchestras, Chicago-based Bob Lark and his Alumni Big Band feature exciting soloists, swinging charts and sensitive ballads on their impressive debut. Reunion brings together former members and students of DePaul University's jazz bands for one more test; they no doubt receive high marks for this engaging reunion.

Track Listing: Reunion: Mad Dan's; Until You; Roatan; First Steps; Cathy's Song; Abruzzi; Suggestions; Ravenswood; Winter's Touch; Tango Caliente.

Personnel: Bob Lark: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dan Nicholson: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Jon Irabagon: alto saxophone, flute (1-5, 7-10); Scott Burns: tenor saxophone (2, 3, 5-11); Chris Madsen: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9-11); Glenn Kostur: tenor saxophone (1, 3-6, 8, 9); Ted Hogarth: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Brent Turney: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dan Jones: trumpet, flugelhorn; Marques Caroll: trumpet, flugelhorn; Vance Thompson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Kirk Garrison: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11); Tim Coffman: trombone; Craig Sunken: trombone; Dominic Marino: trombone; Thomas Matta: trombone; Dana Hall: drums (2, 3, 5, 8, 10); Bob Rummage: drums (1, 4, 7, 9, 11); Joe Policastro: bass; Mike Pinto: guitar; Ryan Cohan: piano (2, 3, 5, 8, 10); Mike Stryker: piano (1, 4, 7, 9, 11); Justin Thomas: vibraphone (7).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Jazzed Media | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Windmills CD/LP/Track Review Windmills
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Ugly Beautiful CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Trickster CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Caipi CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 24, 2017
Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Crowded Solitudes" CD/LP/Track Review Crowded Solitudes
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Rumi Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Rumi Songs
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Mind Behind Closed Eyes" CD/LP/Track Review Mind Behind Closed Eyes
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Evergreen (Canceled World)" CD/LP/Track Review Evergreen (Canceled World)
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Dreamland Mechanism" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamland Mechanism
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 10, 2016
Read "Wise After The Event - Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Wise After The Event - Deluxe Edition
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!