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TNT is the fifth album by the explosive New York-based all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra, blending a contemporary mainstream big band sound with a progressive flavor. Founded by a former relief drummer for the Buddy Rich Big Band, Stanley Kay, the fifteen piece big band has been under the direction of bandleader/drummer Dr. Sherrie Maricle for the last several years. Whether in the studio or in concert, the group has drawn critical acclaim for its play.
This record is a tribute to composer/arranger Tommy Newsom, who provided all of the arrangements and two original charts. "Titter Pipes," the opening swinging number, highlights a chase between Scheila Gonzalez on tenor sax and Karolina Strassmayer on alto. The other Newsom chart is "Three Shades of Blue," a slow and bluesy piece. Of the other pieces on the album, Claire Fischer's "Pensativa" is one of the most delicious. Strassmayer shows her range with a flute solo, followed by a moving run on the piano by Chihiro Yamanaka, backed up by bassist Noriko Ueda.
Anat Cohen takes center stage on clarinet with the Billie Holiday favorite "Moonlight," played in a New Orleans/Dixieland style. The "Nat Cole Medley" is a cleverly crafted musical collage of melodies and harmonies with a playful version of "Straighten Up and Fly Right" that finds the band on vocals. Barbara Larangona provides one memorable performance with her emotional flugelhorn solo on the slow and mellow "Too Late Now." I did not particularly care for the heavy trombone statements in the beginning of "Trail Mix," which is mostly a matter of taste.
Scheila Gonzalez delivers a passion-filled baritone sax solo on "Remember Medley." The finale, "Red Door," is another swinging number that simmers with a torrid pace and features Maricle's powerful drumming.
In appraising the album I would give an "F" for the color selection in the liner notes, whose lack of contrast makes for difficult reading. Musically, this is an exciting, entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyable CD that warrants a grade of "F" for many things: (F)ine arrangements by Newsom, superbly interpreted by the (F)abulous musicianship of a (F)irst-class all-(F)emale extraordinary big band that plays with (F)inesse, (F)reshness, and (F)ire.
Track Listing: Titter Pipes; Pensativa; Three Shades of Blue; Moonlight; Nat Cole Medley; Too Late Now;
Trail Mix; Remember Medley; Come Sunday; Red Door.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com