271

Mike Vax Big Band: Sounds From The Road

Marcia Hillman By

Sign in to view read count
Featuring no less than a dozen alumni from the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Mike Vax's Big Band displays the drive and spirit of the musical organization that crisscrossed the country from the 1940s.

All of the essentials of the Kenton sound are here. A tight and smooth sax section is heard on the opening "Alex's Tune." "La Virgen de la Macarena," the song played at bullfights, has a searing trumpet performance by the leader. There is an easygoing original by trumpeter Steve Huffsteter entitled "Mr. Natural," featuring Alex Murzyn's laidback tenor sax. A bright-sounding trombone section is highlighted on "Boney" where pianist Bob Florence (who passed away four days after the band returned home from this 2008 Midwestern excursion) delivers a notable statement. Kenton's own dreamy arrangement of "I'm Glad There Is You," with Bob Kafka playing the piano solo, is totally delicious ear candy. Then there is the requisite vocal by the "boy and girl" band singers (Scott Winfield and Ginger Berglund) on "A Slow Boat To China." One of the highlights is Bill Holman's dynamic arrangement of Lecuona's "Malaguena" for driving brass section. There is also a bonus track, recorded earlier, of "All The Things You Are," dedicated to, and featuring a fine solo by, Florence.

Though the material on this CD was recorded on the road at different venues with individual acoustics, the balance is good and sound is clean and clear. Stan Kenton, who died in August, 1979, decreed there would be no "ghost band" after he was gone, but this band is carrying on his legacy and one hopes he is somewhere smiling. All of the excitement that earmarked the original Kenton orchestra has been captured for a new generation.

Track Listing: Alex's Tune; Seascape; La Virgen de la Macarena; Mr. Natural; Pennies From Heaven; I'm Glad There Is You; On a Slow Boat to China; Boney; Baubles, Bangles and Beads; Autumn in New York; Variations on a Brazilian Folk Song; Oblivion; Malaguena; All the Things You Are.

Personnel: Kim Richmond: soprano sax, alto sax, flute; Pete Gallio: tenor sax, flute; Alex Murzyn: tenor sax, flute; Keith Kaminski: bari sax, alto sax, flute; Scott Peterson: bari sax; Joel Kaye: bari sax, bass sax, flute; Mike Vax (leader), Dennis Noday, Carl Saunders, Steve Huffsteter, Don Rader, Dan Fava: trumpet and flugelhorn; Roy Wiegand, Dale DeVoe, Scott Whitfield, Curtis Fox: trombone; Kenny Shroyer: bass trombone; Mike Suter: bass trombone, tuba; Bob Florence, Bob Kafka: piano; Chris Symer: bass; Gary Hobbs: drums; Dee Huffsteter: Latin percussion; Scott Whitfield, Ginger Berglund: vocals.

Title: Sounds from the Road | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Summit Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Danse" CD/LP/Track Review Danse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "The Expensive Train Set" CD/LP/Track Review The Expensive Train Set
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "The Truth" CD/LP/Track Review The Truth
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Sus" CD/LP/Track Review Sus
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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