If you watch any television at all it's a good bet you've heard Phil Kelly's sound. Kelly has worked for forty years as a composer/arranger in film and TV, including over 700 national TV commercials. For Convergence Zone Kelly has assembled some of the finest studio and jazz players in the Northwest for a swinging, sassy set of big band jazz.
The opener, "Damp Brown Places" ? a sendup of "Camp Town Races" ? sets an immediate tone for the recording: clean lines and brightly polished, meticuolously-crafted arrangements; propulsive swing; and a sound that brings Doc Severinson's Tonight Show Band to mind. No surprise there, since Kelly has written for Doc's band, in addition to writing and arranging stints for trombonist Bill Watrous's NYC Big Band.
"Cuzn Bubba Luvz Ewe" and "The Refrigerator" bring some funk into the mix, while "Sweet Georgia Upside Down" swings with a sweet Ellingtonian brass/reed mix. The arrangement on "Bella Luce" is reminscent of Robert Farnon's work on the late trombone master J.J. Johnson's great but underappreciated Tangence CD (Gigantes, 1995), with some subtle but beautifully-done string programming.
Too many great solos to mention ? two or three on every song; and listen to the way the limber rhythm guys adjust to the shift from ensemble to solo accompaniment throughout.
A highly polished sound, well-crafted arrangements: a bright, swinging set of big band jazz.