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Walkin’ Tiptoe is the second recording by the remarkably accomplished Swiss Big Band Eruption. As my copy has no jacket or liner notes I don’t know if its members are amateur or professional, but can report with great assurance that they don’t play at all like amateurs. The band confronts demanding works by Chick Corea (“La Fiesta”) and Pat Metheny (“Have You Heard,” “Minuano”), among others, and carves them into mouth–watering morsels without breaking a sweat. Peter Herbolzheimer arranged “Fiesta,” Bob Curnow the two numbers by Metheny. The SBBE’s music director, Daniel Schenker, teaches at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne, as does the ensemble’s outstanding guest artist, trumpeter Bert Joris, who plays marvelously on two of his compositions, the title selection and “The Game.” Joris also wrote the ballad “For the Time Being,” on which warm–toned and well–spoken tenor saxophonist Stefan Arpagaus is featured, showing once more that he is one of Europe’s foremost (albeit least heralded) big–band composer/arrangers. There are two charts by members of the band, trumpeter Stefan Weisendanger’s “Joke” (which owes a sizable debt to Bob Mintzer) and tenor Jochen Baldes’ even–tempered tone poem, “Earth Calling Horisberger,” on which he and trombonist Stefan Schlegel share the solo space. Schenker solos on “Minuano,” Arpagaus and bassist Michel Kunz on “Joke,” pianist Ralph Peter and soprano saxophonist Christoph Merki on the wonderfully buoyant “Fiesta.” There are two vocals, by Miriam Dee (“Mornin’”) and Larry Woodley (“Don’t Stop”), neither of whom induces any sparks. At least Woodley’s performance is last on the program and easily bypassed — and the SBBE more than makes up for those relatively leaden tracks with its superlative readings of the songs by Corea, Metheny and Joris. In sum, a consistently dynamic and thoroughly persuasive modern big–band session.
Track listing: Joke; Have You Heard; La Fiesta; Mornin’; Minuano; Walkin’ Tiptoe; Earth Calling Horisberger; The Game; For the Time Being; Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough. 64:38.
Daniel Schenker, trumpet, flugelhorn, music director; Bert Joris (6, 8), trumpet; Christoph Merki, alto, soprano sax; Georg Birchmeier, alto sax, flute; Stefan Arpagaus, Jochen Baldes, tenor sax; J
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.