Read the subtitle of this album and you probably won't be disappointed. Look over the song list. Understand that these tunes do not include vocals. Issued to coincide with the recent unveiling of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Tribute to a Generation features tunes made famous by Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Benny Carter and Glenn Miller.
This album bears the hallmarks of the best Swing Era bands: tight ensemble playing, great solos (albeit brief at times), wonderful arranging and spirit. In the hands mostly of players who emerged long after the Swing Era, you may hear echoes of that era's great soloists (Artie Shaw, Ben Webster, Benny Carter), but not imitations. You'll hear terrific solos by (among others) Jim Carroll on "Ill Wind," Richard Centalonga on "Sepia Panorama," Gary Smulyan on "Chloe," and Ken Peplowski on "Mission to Moscow"; Tom Williams and saxophonists Loren Schoenberg and Victor Goines trade choruses on "Back Bay Boogie." Swing Era and WWII veteran Joe Wilder plays a tasty solo on "Swanee River" and a hot, but all too brief, one on "Rain Check."
Where's Count Basie? Ironically, he's among the few names on the back cover's description of the era's music, but not on the album itself. For the sake of some Basie, we could have done with one less Artie Shaw or Tommy Dorsey number. The other problem on this album is technical. At times, the soloists, especially clarinet, bass and piano, are under-recorded.
A 36-page booklet, mostly notes on the era and the selections, by "Hot Jazz Saturday Night" host Rob Bamberger, accompanies the album.
Track Listing: 1.Flying Home(3:17); 2.S'Wonderful(2:38); 3.Ill Wind(4:02); 4.Chloe(3:30); 5.Begin the Beguine(3:25); 6.Sepia
Panorama(3:40); 7.Mission to Moscow(2.57); 8.Song of the Volga Boatmen(3:25); 9.Summertime(5:12); 10.Take the
"A" Train(2:48); 11.Back Bay Boogie(4:38); 12.Cotton Tail(3:04); 13.Swanee River(3:13); 14.Rain Check(2:37); Back
Bay Shuffle(3:15); 16.Just A-Settin' and A-Rockin'(3:46); 17.Hallelujah(2:56)
Personnel: Conductors: David Baker, Gunther Schuller. Saxophones: Jim Carroll, Art Dawkins, Bill Easley,
Loren Schoenberg, Gary Smulyan, Steve Wilson, Richard Centalonza, Joe Temperley, Billy Pierece, Gene Smith, Louis
Ford, Charlie Young, Carl Atkins, Victor Goines, Shannon LeClaire, Charles Russo, Jay Brandford, Dick Johnson, Ken
Peplowski. Trumpet: Greg Gisbert, Charles Ellison, Virgil Jones, Mark VanCleave, Joe Wilder, Chris Royal, Lennie Foy,
Tom Williams, Larry Wiseman.Trombone:Art Baron, Sam Burtis, Robin Eubanks, Brent Wallarab, David
Steinmeyer, Wycliffe Gordon, Benny Powell, Britt Woodman, Bill Holmes. Piano: Sir Roland Hanna, Michael
Weiss, Russell Wilson. Guitar: James Chirillo. Bass: John Goldsby, Michael Bowie, Keter Betts, Rufus
Peter Washington. Drums: Tony Reedus, Kennith Kimery, Chuck Redd. Vibes: Chuck Redd.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.