Los Angeles-based trumpeter/flugelhornist Joel Penner is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. His first album, DragonJazz (2001), was well received and resulted in Sea Breeze extending him an invitation to join the label's roster, eventually yielding this recording.
Penner gets off to a fine start with a little big band sound on Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," with a much bigger sound than you'd expect from a sextet (actually augmented to a nonet on this recording). Among some of the other highlights are a different tempo on the Bronislau Kaper jazz standard "Invitation," which includes a tasty Doug MacDonald guitar solo. Freddie Hubbard's 1970s hit "Straight Life" serves as a springboard for Michael Rose's tenor sax and Steve Pemberton's drums. "Laura" begins life as a pretty ballad, with Penner stating David Raksin's theme, but shortly the tempo morphs into spirited Latin jazz per M.B. Gordy's percussive heat, in addition to more tenor sax from Rose and guitar from MacDonald. Finally, Joel Penner concludes the track with a torrid solo.
Penner also gets the opportunity to shine on the Rodgers and Hart standard "My Funny Valentine," which includes a shifting time signature. Doug MacDonald contributes an original, "T & G," with another fine guitar solo. The album concludes with a bit of excitement in the group's treatment of Airto Moreira's "Tombo in 7/4," which appropriately features a percussive finale.
Track Listing: You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Invitation; Straight Life; Laura, The Windup; My Funny Valentine; T & G; Tombo In 7/4.
Personnel: Joel Penner: trumpet/flugelhorn; Michael Rose: saxophones; Cengiz Yaltkaya: piano; Doug
MacDonald: guitar; Bill Ravensberg: bass; Steve Pemberton: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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