While Chris Walden has arranged and composed music for films, television shows and other artists' records, he is most significant to jazz as the leader of his own big band. Full-On
is his sixth CD as a leader and fifth since 2005.
is an exciting album from start to finish. Walden contributed all of the arrangements, wrote five of the 12 selections, and produced the diverse but consistent set. Six different singers are heard from including Tierney Sutton ("Only The Lonely") and Carol Welsman (Hank Williams' "Hey Good Looking") although Melanie Taylor's high-powered performances on Leonard Bernstein's "I Can Cook Too" and Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" steals the show. The 18-piece big band features such superior soloists as Rob Lockart and Brandon Fields on tenors, altoist Jeff Driskill, and trombonists Bob McChesney and Alex Iles and has powerful ensembles with Wayne Bergeron leading the way on first trumpet. In addition, there are guest appearances by altoist Kim Richmond, trombonist Andy Martin, and Arturo Sandoval (playing flugelhorn on "Arturo"). Of the instrumentals, "Out Of Town" is one of the highpoints of the set.
The music throughout Full-On
is straightforward and swinging straight ahead jazz that is consistently exciting and stimulating. Full-On
is quite simply one of the best big band releases of 2014.