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Friday, July 11, 2014

CD Review: Conscious Journey Part 1 & Part 2 - Kenny Lavender

(Review by Lance).
At the end of his 1950's recording of Prologue Stan Kenton proclaimed, "This is an orchestra!".
Kenny Lavender could well have done the same here on this double CD for this is indeed an orchestra comparable with any of the big bands of the past 60 years.
At times the brass do have a suggestion of Kenton and the reeds an occasional nod to Woody but, by and large, this is very much a contemporary outfit reminiscent of, say, Jones/Lewis or Rob McConnell or maybe Bob Florence.
Lavender is an outstanding trumpet player capable of playing a sensitive ballad as well as throwing in a few screamers! The fact that he worked with Jon Faddis whilst still at school speaks much for the perception of both men. (Faddis can be heard at Gala Theatre, Durham this coming Tuesday July 15).
Apart from his playing, Lavender also ticks the boxes as a vocalist (think Harry Connick Jr. Seth McFarlane or Curtis Stigers.) He also composed 8 of the pieces and arranged the other 3.
Not that this is a one man show - far from it! All the reeds have solos including Bacher who plays New Orleans style clarinet in Down in NOLA - a track where the whole band stomps along with a modern Crescent City sound.
About Conscious Journey Part 1 & 2, Lavender says, "These tunes represent different stages in my personal growth, from falling in love with my wife to dealing with addiction and a lot in between."
Like a lot of good music...
Definitely one for the short list but don't play it in the car - you're likely to miss your turning!
Officially released on July 24 - YouTube trailer.
Lance.
Kenny Lavender (tpt/flg/vcl); John Chudoba, Bob Milikan, Brian Pareschi, Scott Wendholt (tpt); Nathan Mayland, Alan Ferber, Michael Boscarino, Joe Barati (tmb); Nathan Childers, Aljandro Aviles, Jason Rigby, Kurt Bacher, Frank Basile (reeds); Rick Germanson (pno); Phil Palombi (bs); Andy Watson (dms).

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