THE PETE MCGUINNESS JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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This fellow, Pete McGuinness, is a super talent and he shows it off very nicely on this, his first big band release as a leader.
McGuinness performed his trombone skills in stints in the Lionel Hampton, Wood Herman and Maria Schneider orchestras prior to striking out on his own. This album allows him to exhibit his total musical package of soloist, composer, arranger and vocalist.
He introduces the listener to his scatting on "Smile," a tune written by the late great actor Charlie Chaplin. McGuinness has a cool vocal entry, scatting along with the brass section before taking his solo. His trombone is perfect on his treatment of Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes."
The band itself is five star, abounding with excellent soloists like trumpeter Chris Rogers, pianist Mike Holober and tenor saxophonist Jason Rigby.
"AMERICAN SONGBOOK II"
PHIL WOODS QUINTET
KIND OF BLUE
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At age 75, saxophonist Phil Woods is a marvel, blowing as effortlessly as he did decades ago, in the hey days of bebop.
The joy still exudes from his alto and can't help but inspire his bandstand companions as they glide through ten marvelous tracks of thoughtful jazz. Everyone solos on the opener, "Suddenly It's Spring," a nice intro to the personnel.
"Careless" begins with a sprightly Woods solo underpinned by the solid rhythm section of pianist Bill Charlap, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin. Trumpeter Brian Lynch, using a mute, follows with a solid effort. "I Remember You" begins with unison horns before Woods' preliminary statement. After more unison, Woods gets down to business before turning to Lynch for his take.
This CD is aptly titled with a program of recognizable tunes with enduring power. Tunes like "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Night and Day," "I'll Take Romance," "Yesterdays," and "Last Night When We Were Young."
It seemed to be the kind of session where a group of musician pals got together and began pulling tunes from their memory banks and trying them out. Only, in this case with great results.
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There aren't even a handful of baritone saxophonists who match the musical stature of Gary Smulyan.
Here, he is working with pianist Mike Le Donne on five of the nine tracks, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Steve Johns. Strangely, the first pianoless tune is "Stop" written by pianist-composer Tadd Dameron. It is not even missed.
Smulyan adds songs by Horace Silver ("Quick Silver"); Thelonious Monk ("Suburban Eyes") and Chick Corea ("Chick's Tune"). While Smulyan is inventive and has three fine accompanists in Le Donne, Irwin and Johns, it would have served the music well to have had one more solo instrument, guitar, saxophone or trumpet, on at least one or two cuts.
"A DAY LIKE THIS"
NEW YORK VOICES
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When it comes to male/female vocal quartets these days, New York Voices are the favorite of many a fan.
This brand new release features their fantastic harmonies on 14 tracks accompanied by various size groups. One of its members, Kim Nazarian, is a Beaverton, Ore. native. She is the lead on "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," "Love You Madly" and "Jackie," a rapid fire vocal which she handles with ease.
Pacquito D'Rivera's clarinet has the guest spot on the easy flowing bossa nova "Chamego." This one has a sparkling arrangement with no lead voice.
Dick Bogle hosts a weekly jazz radio show 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays on KMHD 89.1 FM. He can be reached at email@example.com.