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The All Times Big Band, based in Hilversum, the Netherlands, presents a mixture of pop, swing, Jazz, show tunes and dance music on its second album, and plays all of it quite well. The Jazz component, however, is confined for the most part to a number of well–written charts, with solos that are brief and perfunctory. The soloists aren’t named, which is another indication that it is the ensemble as a whole from which All Times derives its creative impulse. This is what one would expect to hear in the States from Ray Anthony, the Elgarts, Harry James or other bands of that nature — workmanlike arrangements, crisp section work, the occasional solo and a few obligatory vocals (in this case by Piet Heijers on “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “All of Me,” “Solitude”). The exception is the seven–minute–long “Children of Sanchez,” a Jazzy chart that includes an admirable extended solo by trumpeter Willem van Loenen. As if to make amends, All Times follows that with a schmaltzy polka, “Tom Thumb’s Drum,” on which Heijers sings again (with a male chorus from the band). The ensemble does get off to a flying start with “ATB–Opener,” the title selection and “I Get the Blues When It Rains,” and closes nicely with the appropriately named “Closin’ Time,” a disarming blues with more fine trumpet work, perhaps from van Loenen again. Other highlights include the band’s “Tribute to the Duke,” a lively “Samba, Samba” and danceable versions of “Got My Mind on You,” “Undecided,” “I’ve Been Counting on You” and “My Cherie Amor.” As we pointed out, a little something for everyone — but only a dash or two of industrial–strength Jazz.
Track listing: ATB–Opener; Swing Street; I Get the Blues When It Rains; Got My Mind Set on You; Cabaret; Bad, Bad Leroy Brown; Undecided; I’ve Been Counting on You; Stardust; Tribute to the Duke (In a Sentimental Mood, Mood Indigo, It Don’t Mean a Thing); My Cherie Amor; Samba, Samba; Lullaby of Broadway; Children of Sanchez; Tom Thumb’s Drum; All of Me; Solitude; Closin’ Time (61:48).
Pieter van den Dolder, director; Erik Bleijenberg, Rolf van den Hoek, Ren
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.