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Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra: Two Seconds To Midnight

Jim Santella By

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His big band arrangements provide colors and scents that are wrapped around a powerful group of soloists. When Alan Baylock lays out his master plan, all the orchestra’s voices are represented in balance. Soaring trumpets, pulsating guitar, throbbing bass, bookend trombones, conversing saxophones, and a propulsive drummer get together with delicate care and attention to detail. Finally, superb recording techniques make the band’s debut recording shine like the brightest star in the evening sky.

In December, the Dallas Symphony premiered a few of Baylock’s new arrangements. Like a Rachmaninoff piano concerto, his music brings the soloist into balance with the larger ensemble and provides powerful punctuation for particular emphasized phrases.

Special guest Kenny Werner lifts Baylock’s “Sea Changes” and Duke Ellington’s “Cottontail” above eye level for all to see and enjoy. The latter arrangement represents the album’s highest point, flowing seamlessly from one soloist to the next with a natural touch. Six soloists, in turn, build the song’s tension up gradually until; finally, the entire band has to explode with pent-up energy. Each member of the band brings a veteran’s chops to the performing arena. At over thirteen minutes long, “Cottontail” leaves a lasting impression. “When I Fall in Love” closes out this highly recommend big band album with a somber look at what’s been warming our hearts for years. Lush harmony and euphonic blends provide a memorable experience.

Baylock currently holds the position of Chief Arranger for the U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note jazz ensemble. More information about this talented big band arranger may be found in the All About Jazz Musician Guide .


Track Listing: Song for Bilbao; Night and Day; Skylark; Two Seconds to Midnight; Sea Changes; Out House; One Mint Julep; Dee Minor; Cottontail; When I Fall in Love.

Personnel: Alan Baylock- arranger, leader; Andy Axelrad, Antonio Orta- alto saxophone, flute; Joseph Henson- alto saxophone; Tyler Kuebler- tenor saxophone, clarinet; Luis Hernandez- tenor saxophone; Jeff Antoniuk- tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Chad Makela- baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Doug Morgan- baritone saxophone; Brian MacDonald, Mike Davis, Mike Kamuf, Rich Sigler, Tim Leahey- trumpet, flugelhorn; Ben Patterson, Jeff Martin, Joe Jackson- trombone; Jeff Cortazzo- bass trombone; Shawn Purcell- guitar; Kenny Werner, Bob Larson- piano; John Pineda, Paul Henry- bass; Steve Fidyk- drums.

Title: Two Seconds To Midnight | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz

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