Resonance Big Band / Sammy Nestico-SWR Big Band / Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra / Alf Clausen Jazz Orchestra
To compound the predicament, the review copy does not include the booklet with its "eight pages of liner notes and photos," only a tray that lists the songs and arrangers but not the soloists. Rather penny-wise and pound-foolish, as it is difficult to write a review when blindfolded. It's possible, however, to identify a number of soloists by ear. While space won't allow a track-by-track summary, Herman's leading men probably include saxophonists Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Serge Chaloff, Wardell Gray, Richie Kamuca and (perhaps) Herbie Steward; trombonists Bill Harris, Earl Swope and (maybe) Frank Rehak or Carl Fontana; trumpeters Shorty Rogers and Conte Candoli, bassist Chubby Jackson, drummer Dave Tough and Woody himself on clarinet or alto sax. Piano players are harder to identify.
Turning to the play list, there's almost nothing here that most Herman fans won't have heard, perhaps even hundreds of times. Closer to the point, far more palatable recordings of each selection are available elsewhere, even if not on the same disc. The Great Soloists is for completists only; others are advised to look elsewhere for more agreeable Herman recordings.
Citrus College Jazz
At one of the poolside concerts given during a big-band event sponsored by the L.A. Jazz Institute, the Citrus College Jazz Ensemble was quite impressive. Director Robert Slack was kind enough to send three CDs for review, the earliest of which, Time Was..., subtitled "A Tribute to the Big Bands," was recorded in 1996.
The songs, Slack writes, are among the ones most requested during the ensemble's weekly dinner-dance appearances at the Candlelight Pavilion in Claremont, which began in 1993. They include themes associated with Benny Goodman ("Sing, Sing, Sing," "A String of Pearls"), Glenn Miller ("Pennsylvania 6-5000"), Duke Ellington ("Take the 'A' Train"), Count Basie ("Shiny Stockings"), Judy Garland ("Over the Rainbow") and the Andrews Sisters ("Rum and Coca-Cola"). There are updated arrangements of "Overture / Sing, Sing, Sing," "Over the Rainbow" and Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" by Bill Liston, "'A' Train" by Sammy Nestico and "Stardust" by Ted Heath.
Seven of the nine selections are instrumentals. Dulcet-voiced Melissa Stewart does her best to fill Garland's enormous ruby slippers on "Over the Rainbow" (complete with verse) and teams with Stacy Stilz and Nicole Vinzant on the frothy "Rum and Coca-Cola." Even though these tunes are so dog-eared as to approach redundancy, the ensemble is still impressive, and there are engaging solos along the way by trumpeters Jason Basoco, Gino Munoz and James De La Garza (featured on "Stardust"), alto Dan Silva, pianist Allen Everman, drummer George Bryant ("Sing, Sing, Sing") and an unnamed tenor on "Pennsylvania 6-5000." One blatant drawback lies in the disc's playing time, less than thirty-five minutes, which may have been borderline acceptable in 1996 but no longer. Even so, an earnest and well-played tribute to the big bands of the 1930s, 1940s and beyond.
Tracks and Personnel
Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson
Tracks: Waltzing Is Hip; L'Impossible; Little Girl Blue; Down Here on the Ground; Medley: Hymn to Freedom / John Brown's Body; Sally's Tomato; Tricotism; Greensleeves; Bossa Beguine; West Side Story medley; A Little Jazz Exercise.
Personnel: Marian Petrescu: piano; Willie Murillo, Larry Lunetta, Bob Summers, Larry Hall: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bob Sheppard, Steve Wilkerson, Brian Scanlon, Keith Fiddmont, Tom Peterson: reeds; Andy Martin, Bob McChesney, Wendell Kelly: trombone; Bill Reichenbach: bass trombone; Andreas Oberg: guitar; David Stone: bass; Joe La Barbera: drums; Pierre Paul (6): cabasa; Peter Kent, Giovanna Clayton, Belinda Broughton, Jessica Van Velzen (3, 8): string quartet.
Tracks: Blue Samuel; A New Day; A Pair of Aces; Out of the Night; D'Ann; Fun Time; Celebracion; Struttin' with Some Barbecue; Orchids and Butterflies; Not Really the Blues; The Four of Us (You 'n Me); Rare Moment; Bye Bye Blues; A Song for Sarah; King Porter Stomp.
Personnel: Sammy Nestico: composer, arranger, music director; Felice Civitareale, Frank Wellert, Don Rader, Karl Farrent, Rudi Reindl: trumpet, flugelhorn; Klaus Graf: alto, soprano sax, flute; Steffen Weber: alto sax, flute, piccolo flute, alto flute; Axel Kuhn: tenor sax, flute, alto flute; Andi Maile: tenor sax, clarinet, alto flute; Pierre Paquette: baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet; Marc Godfroid, Ernst Hutter, Ian Cumming: trombone; Georg Maus: bass trombone; Klaus-Peter Schopfer: acoustic, electric guitar; Klaus Wagenleiter: acoustic, electric piano; Decebal Badila: acoustic, electric bass; Guido Joris: drums, percussion. Guest artistLibor Sima: bassoon.