Chris Walden has been on a heck of a roll lately, with two Grammy nods for last year's Home of My Heart, one of the finest big band efforts of the year. He also in did the orchestrations for the acclaimed Michael Bolton set Bolton Swings Sinatra.
Home of My Heart deserved all the accolades that came its way; No Bounds is an even stronger disc. Walden is a genius at freshening up the big band genre with sparkling arrangements, whether in the more traditional style or using a lusher approach by adding strings on selected cuts.
The set opens with "Winter Games," a bright, zinging arrangement of the David Foster tune that Walden released as a single in time for the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. Three Disney movie tunesóWalden has scored more than thirty movies himselfóare included: "When You Wish Upon a Star" (swinging all the way to that star), "Someday My Prince Will Come" and the set's closer, "It's a Small World After All."
In between, vocalist Tierney Sutton sits in on a couple of American Songbook classics, "People Will Say We're in Love" and "Smile." Her voice is such a beautiful instrument, cool and smooth and rich; and when Bob McChesney takes a "cool and rich" trombone solo on "People Will Say We're in Love," sounding very Sutton-esque, we're taken to big band heaven. And, as on No Bounds, Walden's own compositionsóthe title cut, "Try Harder" and "Otterkam," originally a film score he wrote in the '80s for a German filmócould steal the show if the overall effort wasn't so superb.
These are big band sounds at the highest level. An essential disc for fans of the genre.