Enlisting the services of fellow Air Force Band of the Rockies members, trombonist Ryan Haines has put together a big band session of note. Originally composed as "The Sky Blue Suite," Haines' program captures various aspects of a serviceman's career. There are dark days, frantic scrambles, lovely ballads, and high-flying horns. While the session connotes high energy and sparkling-clean, dress uniforms – the band still swings with veteran ears. Soloists Haines, Mark Israel, Bill Murray, Ed Hureau, Rich Inouye, Lucas Munce, Eric Gunnison and Bill Applegate provide highly charged flashes of passion. The desired feeling comes through, along with their immaculate instrumental precision. Vocal features on "I Will Wait for You" and "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" pale in comparison. The band rings out clearly with bell tones and pyramid-like entrances. From the bottom-most bass trombone to the highest of the saxophones and trumpets, Haines' big band lets it rip. "Like Thunder," which features Munce and Haines, changes meter and mood, as an aircraft would while completing its mission. Fit for heroes, the music celebrates both the awesome power and fighting spirit of servicemen everywhere. You can't miss the energy.
Haines has written an appropriate homage to the Air Force. His performance and that of his peers should make all servicemen proud.