Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the world famous Blues Alley jazz club in Washington, DC, The Taylor/Fidyk Big Band proceeded to blow the house down in one swinging performance captured on tape for their second recording and follow up to their 2002 debut, "A Perfect Match."
Composer/arranger Mark Taylor and drummer Steve Fidyk anchor an eighteen-piece big band comprised of some of the best musicians from the DC area, all veterans from the Army Blues ensemble and the Airmen of Note Big Band.
This album offers eleven extraordinary big band charts of some of the best straight-ahead jazz heard this year. Taylor, an alumnus from the arranging crew of the Stan Kenton orchestra, provides all of the arrangements here except on "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," a ten minute rendition replete with solos from members of the band.
The eleven course menu includes servings of Taylor original compositions, classics and uncommon standards like Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," and the Gillespie/Parker "Anthropology."
The band also orchestrates up a couple of very fine classic tunes such as "My One And Only Love" amplified by the terrific saxophone solo performance of the only Navy Commodore player, Scott Silbert on baritone. If you liked Stevie Wonder's pop hit "My Cherrie Amour," then you will love this Taylor arrangement that highlights a beautiful alto expression by Bill Linney.
Co-leader Fidyk demonstrates his prowess with the drums on the Louie Bellson/Taylor tune "Brush Taps." One of my favorite scores here is the very bouncy "Bradley's Bop House," that swings all over with an intricate trumpet solo by Craig Fraedrich accompanied by a saxy shout by tenorist Tedd Baker.
Capturing an exciting power-infused performance by one of the premier big bands in the business, Live At Blues Alley is one of those big band albums you will love to hear and find yourself talking about afterwards. It certainly left a lasting impression on this listener.