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Chris Walden Big Band: Winter Games

Edward Blanco By

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Chris Walden Big Band: Winter Games The 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy have passed into history, leaving us with many golden moments and some musical memories from composer David Foster, who wrote the Olympic theme music. German composer/arranger and bandleader Chris Walden, who has written over 400 arrangements for big band and symphony orchestra throughout his career, penned his own jazzy version of Foster's theme in tribute to the Olympics.

In a followup to his 2005 Grammy-nominated Home of My Heart (for best large ensemble album), Walden has taken his Los Angeles-based big band into new territory by recording the just-released Winter Games. The album contains only two tracks of the same theme music; track two is an edited version shortened by 41 seconds for radio. The first track is the complete version of the theme "Winter Games" that is bold and brassy with a splendid solo from Brandon Fields on tenor.

To make this seven-minute disc, Walden brought together some very accomplished musicians, all veterans of the West Coast big band scene. Included are such top-notch players as reedist s Kim Richmond and Tom Peterson, trumpeters Wayne Bergeron and Ron King, and trombonists Bob McChesney and Andy Martin. These are but only a few of the notables who comprise his LA big band. While not offering an array of musical selections that one would expect from a large ensemble recording, Walden keeps the embers burning just enough to feel the warmth that melts the snow on this limited edition recording.


Track Listing: Winter Games (full version); Winter Games (radio edit).

Personnel: Chris Walden: conductor; Jeff Driskill, Kim Richmond, Rob Lockhart, Brandon Fields, Tom Peterson: saxophone; Wayne Bergeron, Kye Palmer, Ron King, Kevin Richardson: trumpets; Bob McChesney, Andy Martin, Arturo Velasco, Rich Bullock: trombones; Brian Monroney; Alan Steinberger: piano; Kevin Wild: bass; Ray Brinker: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Origin Records | Style: Big Band


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Extended Analysis
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