RINGER OF THE WEEK
Here's a band that avoids the pitfalls of most big band recordings. Modern stuff either sounds like a Gil Evans wanna-be or a musical version of a Jackson Pollock painting. Here, you've got a nice sized big band lead by trumpeter Erik Jekabson, and he walks the tightrope of clever sounds and harmonies as well as palpable rhythms on this highly successful album. The horn sections do wonders with Miles Davis' "ESP" as the rhythm tam of Grant evin/p, Eric Garland/dr, Tommy Folen/b and Jordan Samuels/g glide like a small combo under Doug Morton's trumpet and Michael Zilber's husky tenor." A smoking take of Herbie Hancock's "People Music" has some funky grooves laid down bythe rhythm, as well as hip horns and an all out bravado solo by Zilber. Who IS this guy?!? A militaristy vibe on "Gap Toothed Grin" makes a sharp turn into swing along with sizzling trumpet solos by Jekabson and Darren Johnston, while the softer side if the band is felt on the feathery "It's Gonna Be Allright" where Colin Hogan's piano goes lovingly lounge lizard.
The charts here are an absolute hoot. There's more shifting on "Bolenge Shuffle" that Little Egypt's hips, and the band goes from wah wah murky to bright and tight on "Electric Squeezebox." The reeds show their allegiance to traditional swing on"Compus Mentis" just before they shift gears between jivey cool and snappy bebop, with solos by Sheldon Brown/as and Patrick Malabuyo/tb riding the bouncy road. This band is a perfect mix of heart, soul and feet. Get ready for some fun!