After decades of recording on a number of labels, including most recently a long stint with Concord, Rob McConnell is releasing once again another one of his almost-annual CD's. At the start of the millennium, he is recording for the first time on the Canadian label, Justin Time, appropriately enough.
Recording Rob McConnell Tentet in Toronto, McConnell still reminds his listeners of the reasons for his groups' distinctiveness: fresh, swinging arrangements that belie the relatively few musicians executing his richly colored sound. That sound remains intact in his "tentet."
Plunging into the fun with a right-on-the-beat start of "Old Devil Moon," McConnell continues to delight his listeners with subtle, unanticipated accents and unison horn lines in an arranged variation on the tune. "Speak Low," with its long and slowly deepening brass tones over drum-and-bass propulsion, strips away the horn lines to allow bassist Wallace to speak low of the true basis for the tune: its lightly unconventional rhythm. Dizzy Gillespie's and John Lewis' "Two Bass Hit" reveals the power of the band. But it really is the foundation for the tentet's saxophonists, P. J. Perry, Mike Murley and Alex Dean, to do battle, armed only by their instruments and their talent.
"Everything I Love," a tune inspired by Paul Desmond, is valuable as an arrangement that tests the group's cohesion in the same way that Neal Hefti's "Girl Talk" doeswith a solid group unity that delves into each note in anticipation of the beat and without ostentation. "Everything I Love" allows for a McConnell solo as well, as he explores the harmonic underpinnings with a vibrant tone and an effortless, melodic improvisational approach. Percy Faith's "Maybe September" glides through kaleidoscopic changes behind a luxuriant tenor sax statement of the theme which is similar to the film noir references of Charlie Haden's Quartet West.
Even within the consistency of McConnell's patented arrangements and instrumentation, unlike any others, Rob McConnell Tentet contains a diversity of mood. With or without the Boss Brass, McConnell's allegiance to the gorgeousness of a brass choir-like sounds remains intact.
Track Listing: Old Devil Moon, Speak Low, Two Bass Hit, Everything I Love, Con Alma, Maybe September, Theme For Jobim, Ian Leaps Out, Manha de Carnaval, Lush Life, These Are The Things I Love
Personnel: Rob McConnell, trombone, producer; P.J. Perry, alto sax; Mike Murley, Alex Dean, tenor sax; Steve McDade, trumpet; Guido Basso, flugelhorn; Terry Promane, trombone; Steve Wallace, bass; Terry Clarke, drums; Dave Restivo, piano
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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