143

Boston Promende Big Band: Walking the Big Duck / History: 64-99

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Where, I asked my wife, do you think the Boston Promenade Big Band might be from? “Massachusetts?” she replied. A splendid guess, but some few miles off the mark. Boston Promenade, which was established in 1964, is, believe it or not, based in Helsinki, Finland. Walking the Big Duck, released in 1997, is the band’s fourth album; the other disc, History: 64–99, is, as its title implies, an overview of the band’s recordings from 1974 to the present (with one previously unreleased track, “Jump in My Car”). Five of the selections on History are from Big Duck, which we shall appraise first. The first thing to note is that the band itself is quite good; the second is that the music is invariably swing–, rock– or fusion–oriented, with vocals on all but one track (James and David Taylor’s “JTQ Theme”). Among the more familiar songs (at least to American listeners) are Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” Michael Jackson’s “Blame It on the Boogie,” Roger Murrah/Keith Stegall’s “We’re in This Love Together,” Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed and Delivered, I’m Yours,” and — we’re not kidding — Jerome Kern/Otto Harbach’s “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (with a remarkably “straight” arrangement enhancing Sanni Orasmaa’s vocal). “Let’s Stay Together,” with vocal by Ninni Poijärvi, opens like an old 78–rpm record, complete with scratchy surface, before moving in mid–stream to its more contemporary sound. The finale, “In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down,” was arranged by Frank Mantooth. That one is reprised on History, as are “Big Duck’s Walk,” “We’re in This Together,” “JTQ Theme“ and “Let’s Stay Together.” The band bows on its various albums to Aretha Franklin (“Natural Woman”), Tom Jones (“It’s Not Unusual”) and Judy Garland (“Over the Rainbow”), among others. “Mellow Saxophone,” “It’s Not Unusual” and “Caught a Touch of Your Love,” recorded this year, document Boston Promenade’s move away from rock and toward “nouveau swing.” Actually, there’s more of that from On the Rocks (recorded in 1990), notably “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens,“ “Rattlesnake Shake” and “Boston Shaker,” along with a rare (and well–done) ballad, “Lately.” The Garland classic comes from 1984’s album Reaching for the Rainbow, sung by an all–male vocal group, “Boston Cake” and the Glenn Miller favorite, “Little Brown Jug” (with lyrics). Miller’s familiar theme, “Moonlight Serenade,” and a swing arrangement of the standard “My Blue Heaven” are from 1974–75’s Janitsaarijatsin nousu ja uho, and the anthology closes with the unissued rocker, “Jump in My Car” (which mimics the Beatles and other British groups of the late ’50s–early ’60s). For them that likes this kind of music, Boston Promenade plays (and sings) it reasonably well. But finding any of its albums can be a formidable undertaking. If you’re interested, try the contact address given below.

Track listing: History — (Every Time I Hear That) Mellow Saxophone; Natural Woman; It’s Not Unusual; Caught a Touch of Your Love; In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down); We’re in This Love Together; Big Duck’s Walk; JTQ Theme; Let’s Stay Together; Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens; Lately; Rattlesnake Shake; Boston Shaker; When a Man Loves a Woman; Over the Rainbow; Boston Cake; Little Brown Jug; Moonlight Serenade; My Blue Heaven; Jump Into My Car (74:48). Walking the Big Duck — Prologue: Going Down Under; Big Duck’s Walk; Play That Funky Music; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; We Are Family; JTQ Theme; Let’s Stay Together; Blame It on the Boogie; We’re in This Love Together; Signed, Sealed and Delivered, I’m Yours; Ain’t Nobody; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down). (53:35).

Personnel:

Jussi Saari, trumpet, conductor; Peter Borg, Jani P

| Record Label: BP | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "A Moment In Time" CD/LP/Track Review A Moment In Time
by James Nadal
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Interesting" CD/LP/Track Review Interesting
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Montage" CD/LP/Track Review Montage
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 22, 2016
Read "Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Streams
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 2, 2016
Read "Behind the Vibration" CD/LP/Track Review Behind the Vibration
by Mark F. Turner
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Away With You" CD/LP/Track Review Away With You
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!