Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

167

The Bud Shank Big Band: Taking The Long Way Home

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
An integral part of jazz for over sixty years, alto great Bud Shank has compiled over fifty diverse albums in his long and distinguished career. While he grew up with the Big Band Era and later, as a professional, became part of the Charlie Barnet and Stan Kenton big bands, he never desired to lead his own big band until last year at the sprightly age of 79. Upon the celebration of Stan Kenton's Neophonic Orchestra's fortieth anniversary at the Los Angeles Jazz Institute, he was asked to lead a big band for the occasion, which he accepted. Shank had previously played with that particular Kenton Orchestra.

He assembled some of the best musicians of the Los Angeles/West Coast jazz scene for this endeavor. The group includes trumpeters Carl Saunders and Ron Stout, trombonists Andy Martin and Mike Barone, saxophonists Lanny Morgan, Doug Webb and Jack Nimitz, and pianist Christian Jacob, plus a special appearance by pianist Bob Florence on the title track.

The leader drew upon arrangements by Bob Cooper, Mike Barone, Manny Album and Bob Florence, as well as one of his own, to produce eight tracks of sensational and fiery big band music with a touch of class. The album was recorded live in May 2005 at the LAX Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Los Angeles. The concert starts off with a Barone composition, "Rosebud," a rousing, crowd-pleasing big band number that delivers an immediate sonic blast, prompting Shank to comment afterwards, "This is fun." He selected the second track, "Waltz For Debby," for one of his favorite musicians, Bill Evans. The group treats the melodic piece gently.

I've heard many versions of Cole Porter's classic "Night And Day," but none done so with such spunk and swiftness as this rendition, on which Shank lays down some cool and crisp choruses on alto. Shank borrows an arrangement by trombonist Jiggs Whigham for the incredible "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes," a hot and furious tune in which he shares the stage with tenor saxophonist Doug Webb. Together the pair trade broadsides, going back and forth in a memorable performance for what turns out to be the hardest-swinging big band score in the set. Wow!

The band mellows out on Shank's homage to Artie Shaw, "The Starduster," a Barone arrangement with a soft and warm melody. Shank makes an impassioned solo journey on this beautifully orchestrated piece. The title cut, featuring pianist Bob Florence, was the only low point. It seemed to be a rather hard, choppy tune with various changes in direction—and for me, a bit too long and drawn out at over seventeen minutes. Nevertheless, Taking The Long Way Home captures a historical musical event, along with a ferocious performance by a legendary altoist.

Duke Ellington once stated that Shank is "The greatest part of Kenton's Neophonic concert." With a supporting cast of phenomenal musicians and terrific charts, this album affirms that claim. Taking The Long Way Home is one of the best big band discs of the year.


Track Listing: Rosebud; Waltz For Debby; Greasiness Is Happening; Night And Day; The Night Has A Thousand Eyes; The Starduster; Limes Away; Taking The Long Way Home.

Personnel: Bud Shank: leader and alto saxophone; Bob Florence: piano (8); Roger Ingram, Dennis Farias, Pete DiSiena, Ron Stout, Carl Saunders: trumpet; Andy Martin, Mike Barone, Charlie Morales, Craig Gosnell:trombones; Lanny Morgan, Kieth Bishop, Doug Webb, Brian Williams, Jack Nimitz: saxophones; Christian Jacob: piano; Joel Hamilton: bass; Kevin Kanner: drums.

Title: Taking The Long Way Home | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Jazzed Media

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by John Kelman
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "I Believe In You" CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Strange Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Strange Circles
by Daniel Marx
Published: August 8, 2017
Read "Synchronic" CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Alcanza" CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 25, 2017