All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra: Strength in Numbers

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
For the second album as leader of his jazz orchestra, New York-based Pete McGuinness says he has "returned to [his] roots," fashioning a series of dapper themes that embody his forward-looking point of view while swinging in the grand tradition of such legendary ensembles as Basie, Herman, Thad Jones and others. When someone like Bill Holman says (as he does) "wonderful writing," the tendency is to sit up and take notice. One keynote that's immediately clear is that Holman is, as usual, spot on, and that McGuinness ranks high among the jazz world's most skillful contemporary composer / arrangers, one who doubles on trombone and trebles as band singer (more about that anon).

Without sacrificing any of his deeply personal convictions, McGuinness has managed to produce an album that should appeal to those who savor music that is shrewd and sophisticated as well as to others who lean toward buoyancy and power. That's no easy task, and there aren't many bands or bandleaders who could make it work. McGuinness does so by blending big-band dynamism with structural finesse, as on his engaging bows to Basie ("The Swagger"), Jones ("Nasty Blues") and especially friend and mentor Bob Brookmeyer ("The Send-Off"). His deft use of harmony and color is everywhere exceptional. Among the other highlights is McGuinness' clever arrangement of Stephen Foster's ballad "Beautiful Dreamer," recast as a snappy samba that underscores intrepid solos by soprano saxophonist Dave Pietro and pianist Mike Holober.

McGuinness wrote the lyrical "Trixie's Little Girl" for his late mother, the Latin-tempered "Spellbound" as an homage (no kidding) to Claude Debussy and Billy Strayhorn. McGuinness' expressive trombone is showcased on the graceful "Bittersweet," as it is on "Trixie's Little Girl." Other soloists (all splendid) are trombonists Mark Patterson and Matt Haviland, tenors Tom Christensen and Jason Rigby, baritone Dave Reikenberg, bass trombonist Jeff Nelson, alto Marc Phaneuf, trumpeters Chris Rogers and Bill Mobley, bassist Andy Eulau and drummer Scott Neumann. The three remaining numbers (or two, as the standard "You Don't Know What Love Is" is repeated in a shorter "radio version") are the ones on which McGuinness sings, and the most courteous observation that can be made is that one of the perks of leading a big band is that you can sing if you want to and no one will demur. That's not to say that you should. Aside from those minor missteps, however, Strength in Numbers is entirely pleasurable and persuasive.

Track Listing: The Send-Off; What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?; Trixie’s Little Girl; The Swagger; Beautiful Dreamer; Spellbound; You Don’t Know What Love Is; Nasty Blues; Bittersweet; You Don’t Know What Love Is (radio version).

Personnel: Pete McGuinness: composer, arranger, leader, trombone, vocals (2, 7, 10); Jon Owens: trumpet; Tony Kadlek: trumpet; Bill Mobley: trumpet; Chris Rogers: trumpet; Dave Pietro: alto, soprano sax, flute; Marc Phaneuf: alto sax, flute; Tom Christensen: tenor sax, flute; Jason Rigby: tenor, soprano sax, clarinet; Dave Reikenberg: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Bruce Eidem: trombone; Mark Patterson: trombone; Matt Haviland: trombone; Jeff Nelson: bass trombone; Mike Holober: piano; Andy Eulau: bass; Scott Neumann: drums.

Title: Strength in Numbers | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Summit Records


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

First Flight

First Flight

Pete McGuinness
First Flight

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Strength in Numbers

Strength in Numbers

Summit Records

Voice Like A Horn

Voice Like A Horn

Summit Records

First Flight

First Flight

Summit Records


Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Eleven" CD/LP/Track Review Eleven
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2018
Read "I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert" CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 8, 2018
Read "Desert Pulse" CD/LP/Track Review Desert Pulse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Grace
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "Towards Language" CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Irmãos De Fé" CD/LP/Track Review Irmãos De Fé
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 6, 2017