Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

351

Ed Vezinho - Jim Ward Big Band: With Friends Like These

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
It is a common practice to title an album after one of the pieces composed for and performed on the recording, sometimes attributing a special meaning or theme to the music. Such is the case with saxophonist Ed Vezinho's "With Friends Like These." Alongside trumpeter Jim Ward, Vezinho has co-led the Ed Vezinho-Jim Ward Big Band for twenty-six years with a largely unchanged line-up, providing undeniable testimony that beautiful music can be made when fortunate enough to have "friends like these."



The big band's third release following Smile (DAB Records, 2000) and Blue Haired Mama (Self-Published, 2003), With Friends Like These is its first for Philadelphia-based Dreambox Media. Supported by scorching woodwinds and a howling brass section led by Ward, this sixteen-piece high octane big band, comprised of the finest showroom musicians in Atlantic City, delivers a "blow your socks off," power-infused performance typical of traditional muscle ensembles.

Vezinho and Ward make the recording more enticing by recruiting a host of guest soloists including tenor saxophonists Larry McKenna and Michael Pedicin, flugelhornists Al Harrison and George Rabbai, and trumpeter Pete Colangelo all rounding out the Philadelphia influence on the music.

With an exciting mix of Vezinho originals and arrangements of familiar standards, the album opens with the co-leader's "Hat Out of Bell," where the group's energetic opening statement quickly establishes an aggressive mode that sets the stage and theme for the recording. Rick Kerber, a former member who passed away before the recording of Smile, is remembered here as the band performs his "Jofa," with a special appearance by younger brother/soprano saxophonist Ron Kerber.

Sammy Cahn's "All The Way" is the first jazz standard, taken for a wild ride by the band's powerful horn section and featuring a dicey performance by Pedicin. Duke Ellington would indeed be proud of the way "Sophisticated Lady" is treated here, especially by Stan Weiss' warm baritone solo, accompanied by guitarist Brian Betz. Guest Denis DiBlasio delivers the disc's other outstanding baritone solo on "Secret Love."

Philadelphia jazz icon Larry McKenna lends his tenor voice to the Loerner & Lowe standard "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," providing a delicate sound gently treated with light orchestral play by the band for a nice ballad. Playing a high-pitched Maynard Ferguson-like trumpet, Ward leads the band on "I'll Be Around," another soft ballad.

Other stand out tunes include "Trumpetland," "Maybe," the finale "Runnin' Away From You," and Vezinho's swinging title piece, which is a feature for Colangelo and band trumpeter Mike Natale, creating some terrific horn play.

For those who favor the big band sound, Vezhino and Ward's selection of music and clever arrangements will be exceptionally pleasing. Most of all, the musicianship, solos and all around outstanding performances from a truly world-class orchestra and guests give special meaning to the phrase With Friends Like These.


Track Listing: Hat Out of Bell; Jofa; All The Way; Joy; Trumpetland; Sophisticated Lady; Secret Love; I'll Be Around; With Friends Like These; I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face; Maybe; Runnin' Away From You.

Personnel: Ed Vezinho: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet; Jim Ward: trumpet; Howard Isaacson: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet; John Guida: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet; Joe Rotella: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet; Stan Weiss: baritone saxophone; Joe Scannella: trumpet; Dennis Wasko: trumpet; Dave Kennedy: trumpet; Mike Natale: trumpet; Joe Zeigenfus: trombone; Clint Sharman: trombone; Rich Goldstein: trombone; Joe Jacobs: trombone; Demetrious Pappas: piano; Andy Lalasis: bass; Harry Himles: drums; Ron Kerber: soprano saxophone (2); Michael Pedicin: tenor saxophone (3); Larry McKenna: tenor saxophone (11); Denis DiBlasio: baritone saxophone (7); Skip Spratt: tenor saxophone (11); Robert Rawlins: flute (4); Al Harrison: flugelhorn (3); George Rabbai: flugelhorn (7); Pete Colangelo: trumpet (5); Brian Betz: guitar (6, 12).

Title: With Friends Like These | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Dreambox Media

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Far From Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far From Over
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Rome" CD/LP/Track Review Rome
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "Surface of Inscription" CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Just The Way We Are" CD/LP/Track Review Just The Way We Are
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Volume 5" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 5
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "Provenance" CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 4, 2017