Home » Jazz Articles » The Len Pierro Jazz Orchestra: The Third Quarter

Album Review

The Len Pierro Jazz Orchestra: The Third Quarter


Sign in to view read count
The Len Pierro Jazz Orchestra: The Third Quarter
Flourtown, PA native Len Pierro unveils one monster big band album that will be reverberating well beyond the boundaries of Pennsylvania and from radio studios throughout the jazz landscape for quite a long time. The Third Quarter is The Len Pierro Jazz Orchestra's recent offering and what an offering of fresh original compositions and re-imagined jazz standards it is.

The 63-year-old saxophonist has produced one heck of an album of traditional straight-ahead swinging jazz that defines what explosive big band music is like. Featuring an army of twenty-five local musicians including legendary sax man Larry McKenna, alto saxophonist Matt Vashlishan, tenor saxophonist Ron Kerber and many others, this ensemble is designed to play with swagger and power and does so gracefully.

The band comes out swinging on the Phil Woods-inspired "Fill in the Gap," showcasing the terrific sax section providing but a taste of what's to come. The Ralph Rainger standard "If I Should Lose You" is the perfect piece for McKenna and Chris Farr to display their tenor voices. The beautiful "As We Know It" and "Cottage 2" are two original compositions that light up the day. Other originals the shine all over are the brassy "In Earnest," the slow ballad "Time to Go," and the show piece and title track of the session, "The Third Quarter," where the power and full force of the ensemble is on display featuring Vashlishan, trumpeter Tony DeSantis, trombonist Rob Stoneback and Farr on sparkling solos.

One of the more outstanding performances here is by Vashlishan with a superb solo on the gentle and gorgeous original "No More, No Less." The standards come back on Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" and on the Kenny Barron finale "Voyage" where McKenna and pianist Tom Lawton combine to bring the curtains down with playful swinging performances that the entire band is guilty of.

Anyone who suggests that big band music is dead, should take one listen to The Third Quarter before reaching such a ridiculous conclusion. For those who appreciate the ensemble sound, there's plenty here to keep your ears popping. Enjoy!

Track Listing

Fill In The Gap; If I Should Lose You; As We Know It; In Earnest; Time To Go; The Third Quarter; Cottage 2; No More, No Less; Jitterbug Waltz; Uncle Pep; Voyage.


Len Pierro: saxophone; Joe Vettori: saxophone, alto; Matt Vashlishan: saxophone, alto; Larry McKenna: saxophone, tenor; Chris Farr: saxophone, tenor; Mark Allen: saxophone, baritone; Mike Cemprola: saxophone, alto; Skip Spratt: saxophone; Ron Kerber: saxophone, tenor; Jonathan Shaw: trumpet; Jay Webb: trumpet; George Rabbai: trumpet; Tony DeSantis: trumpet; Daniel Wright: trumpet; Joe Anderson: multi-instrumentalist; Fred Scott: trombone; Rob Stoneback: trombone; Dan Tommasone: trombone; Bob Suttman: trombone; Dave Cianci: trombone.

Additional Instrumentation

Pat Mercuri: guitar; Kevin Hanson: guitar; Tom Lawton: piano; Madison Rast: bass; Lew Leabman: drums; Grant MacAvoy: drums

Album information

Title: The Third Quarter | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: WalkingPath Records

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album



New Oxford Brevity
Dominic Lash / Pat Thomas
Dedicated To You
Joe Coughlin
Times Like These
Nica Carrington
Blue Note Re:imagined II
Various Artists


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.