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Bebop Spoken There

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In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

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Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

CD Review: Jeff Benedict Big Band - Holmes.

Jeff Benedict (sop/alt) Adrian Williams (alt); Jeff Ellwood, Ken Foerch (ten); Charlie Richard (bar); Steve Hawk. Jeff Jarvis, Tom Tallman, Frank Rico (tpt); Paul McKee, Jacques Voyemant ; Otto Granillo, Gerry Amoury (tmb); Dave Askren (gtr); Matt Harris (pno); Tim Emmons (bs); Paul Romaine (dms).
(Review by Lance).
I've procrastinated doing this review for too long! It hit the streets in July but - big confession coming up - it's easier to post a trio review with only 3 names to type in as opposed to the 17 here!
However, I've bitten the bullet and typed - and listened! Boy have I listened! This is one cracking CD totally representative of the current big band scene both in the UK and the USA.
I get the message from this (and locally) that big band jazz is alive and well. A mix of originals by Benedict and trombonist McKee interspersed with compositions by Sting, Duke, Metheny, Zawinal, Coltrane and Michael Brecker.
The roots aren't in Kenton or Herman (maybe a little of the latter in Benedict's alto feature on Easy Living) rather, it's Jones-Lewis/Clarke-Boland that springs to mind with, as is unavoidable in just about any quality big band, a hint of contemporary Basie.
The joy of big band jazz for me is not just the exciting soloists (of which there are plenty here) but that of hearing 5 saxes phrasing as one. They may be blowing Selmer. Yamaha, Conn, Buescher or whatever horns. The mouthpieces may be one of the many gobstoppers crafted  by Link, Guardala, Dukoff, Lawton or what came with the instrument and, using a variety of reeds from the usual suspects, still manage to get that blend of 5 people speaking with unforked tongues. Brassmen too somehow seem to be able to blend as one - at least they do here !
That the bands of Ellington, Gillespie and early Basie rarely achieved this perfection was both their strengths and their weaknesses. The power of their soloists and arrangers more than made up for any loose ensemble work.
Here we get the best of both worlds! I'm not going to suggest that these guys are better than their illustrious predecessors - far from it but, and it's a big but (no lewd comments please!) they have absorbed, learned and developed their own style whilst, incorporating contemporary influences along the way - even Gonsalves never played a tenor solo like Ellwood does on Caravan!
Benedict takes the alto solos, Ellwood and Foerch the tenor spots, McKee puts in some expressive slidework on most whilst Voyemant solos on Brecker's Delta City Blues, Jarvis on Coltrane's Naima and Tallman on Benedict's Holmes are the featured trumpet soloists and Harris, Ascram and Romaine are also in there pitching,
There won't be many better big band records this year - next year either!
Lance
Available Tapestry Records.

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