Long time arranger, band leader and composer Tom Talbert has released his third in a line of jazz albums called the Discover Jazz Series. The first two releases are reissues of earlier albums recorded in 1956 and 1991 for other labels. But this new addition appears to be made exclusively for this series. Of the twelve items on the play list, eight come from Talbert's pen. These tunes were written to show off ensemble discipline and solo skills of the members of this band and others that Talbert has headed over a recording career spanning more than 50 years. This band is comprised of a energetic group of players to write for. With 16 mainly veteran players, this aggregation compares well with the group that Talbert headed in making perhaps his finest recording, Bix Duke Fats. Included are clarinets, a bass clarinet and French horns, al la Claude Thornhill, allowing for a mellower sound than is usually heard with the "killer diller" approach favored by most contemporary big bands.
Talbert's creations provide sturdy vehicles for members of the band to show off their jazz skills. The clever "Tune for Two" marries the talents of the guitar of Howard Alden and the alto of Dick Oatts. On the Latin conga driven "Chiripa", prominent studio man Glenn Drewes takes solo honors with a Mexican bull fight arena trumpet. One of the swingingest tunes on the set is the appropriately named "Dance Delively" with Eddie Bert's trombone out front. Veteran player Bert, by the way, was on the 1956 Bix Duke Fats album. Of the non-Talbert composed items, "Little Girl Blue" stands out. With an almost chamber music arrangement, the mellow, expressive muted flugelhorn of Joe Wilder flutters and floats above the melody line like a butterfly and the ensemble sequing into open horn to wrap things up. This tune and "`Round Midnight" with the soulful clarinet of Aaron Sachs, alone make this album a good buy. Recommended.
Track Listing: Chiripa; To a Lady Asking Foolish Questions; Tune for Two; `Round Midnight; Love's Melody; Dance Delively; Little Girl Blue; A Month of Sundays; Pavane de la Belle aux Bois Dormant; Divertissement; Green Night; Orange Bright
Personnel: Tom Talbert - Leader/Arranger; Dick Oatts - Alto Sax; Roger Rosenberg, Lawrence Feldman - Alto Sax/Flute/Clarinet; Aaron Sachs - Tenor Sax/Clarinet; Danny Bank - Baritone Sax/Bass Clarinet; Joe Mosello, Danny Chan, Brian O'Flaherty, Glenn Drewes - Trumpet; Joe Wilder - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Janet Lantz, Chris Costanzi - French Horn; Jim Pugh, Eddie Bert - Trombone; Dave Taylor - Bass Trombone/Tuba; Howard Alden - Guitar; Dick Sarpola - Bass; Jim Spirito - Drums; Joe Passard - Conga