Temple Jazz Orchestra: This Is TJO

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Temple Jazz Orchestra: This Is TJO The Temple Jazz Orchestra, which began life about fifteen years ago as a part of the Jazz Studies program at Temple College, has evolved into a professional ensemble whose members include a number of the best big band musicians and educators in central Texas. The TJO was founded by its current director, Tom Fairlie, who triples as director/conductor of the Temple Symphony Orchestra and division director of Fine Arts at Temple College.

This is the TJO's third album. Unlike the others, which mixed standards with jazz originals by such stalwarts as Tom Kubis, Gordon Goodwin, Matt Catingub and Sammy Nestico, it is devoted for the most part to compositions and/or arrangements by members of the band. Trumpeter Lee "Sparky Thomason wrote two ("It Is Time, "Ludis Blues ), pianist Dave Wild two more ("Catch the Early Trane, "Your Mileage May Vary ). The ensemble's second pianist, Ben Irom, composed "A Nod to Cee Cee and arranged Michael Brecker's "African Skies, while trumpeter Tim Cates arranged Freddie Hubbard's "Gibraltar. David Bandman, a euphonium player and music arranger with the US Air Force Ceremonial Brass in DC, penned the opening number, "Bohica, saxophonist Paul White from nearby Austin the ambling "Third Ear.

The word that springs to mind when listening to the album is competent. On the one hand, everyone plays well enough to pass muster; on the other, there's nothing here that leaps out and grabs you. Much of the fire and energy that animated the band's previous concert performance/album with guest trombonist Bill Watrous is missing. And when searching for a reason, one has to single out, among other things, the choice of material, which is as a rule decent but more limp than electrifying.

It's not until "Ludis Blues that one senses the adrenaline flowing. The soloists seem uninspired, with the possible exceptions of soprano Colin Mason ("Cee Cee ) and pianist Iroms ("African Suite"). Sound quality is an unremitting problem; the album's cavernous concert-hall ambiance isn't charitable to anyone, least of all drummer Michael Morris. The trumpet section, a strong point in the past, strives to furnish some heat but may as well have been on vacation.

When all the pieces are in place, the TJO is an admirable regional ensemble, and I'm sorry I can't be as upbeat about its latest album as I was the first two. If you'd like to hear the orchestra in better form, I'd recommend either (or both) of them—Live, featuring Bill Watrous; and/or the TJO's debut, Soft Lights and Sweet Music.

Track Listing: Bohica; African Skies; Catch the Early Trane; Third Ear; It Is Time; Gibraltar; A Nod to Cee Cee; Your Mileage May Vary; Ludis Blues (64:57).

Personnel: Tom Fairlie: director, percussion; Rob Sanders, Tim Cates, Denise Doyle, Byron Swann, Lee Thomason: trumpet; Colin Mason: alto, tenor, soprano sax, flute; Tom Jones: alto sax, flute; Greg Bashara: tenor sax, flute; Karen Batson: tenor sax, flute, clarinet; Ray Sanchez: tenor sax, clarinet; Frank Nelson: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Gary Smith, Keith Fraser, Gannon Phillips: trombone; Brent Colwell, Brent Mathesen: bass trombone; Dave Wild, Benjamin Irom: piano; Reese Liles: guitar; Vincent Bryce: bass; Michael Morris: drums, percussion.

Title: This Is TJO | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: TJO


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read My Head Is Listening CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Passin' Thru CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Ugly Beauty CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet CD/LP/Track Review Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "House Of Waters" CD/LP/Track Review House Of Waters
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left" CD/LP/Track Review Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Begin to Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Begin to Dance
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Summer Skyshift" CD/LP/Track Review Summer Skyshift
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.