Having been fortunate enough to be a member of so many of the greatest jazz bands, let me begin this review by stating that I sure wish I'd been a member of this one. This band list is definitely a who's who of the best musicians in Los Angeles, jazz or studio: jazz for the inventiveness of the solos and swing of the music, and studio for the technical ability of the musicians, or as Phil put it: "There wasn't time for a rehearsalÍweÍput the ink up and started playing until we got enough."
Phil's been in the business for a long time and written a lot of music in many idioms, but he's certainly not only a composer/arranger. He also worked as a drummer with many greats, including two of my favorite people, Red Garland and Denny Zeitlin. He secured his financial standing by writing national commercials for a living, making enough time to create meaningful music on the side. Although supposedly semi-retired and living in Bellingham, Washington, if this CD is any indication, I can't quite see where the retirement angle comes in, when you hear such quality and creativity in music writing. I mean, whatever arrangement you listen to on this CD, it is premier
performance and music all the way.
n addition to more than 40 years as a composer / arranger for film, TV, and other media
As a trombone player, I applauded the opening of this CD with the Duke Pearson jazz standard "Jeannine," featuring a stellar trombone section led by Andy Martin. You can tell immediately that this is the cr╦me de la cr╦me of jazz musicians, big band or soloist. That being the case, then what could be more fitting than to show off the creative expertise of soloists like Bob Summers on trumpet, Andy Martin on trombone, and Pete Christlieb on tenor sax.
Listen to state of the art lead playing by Wayne Bergeron in Phil's original, "Bluelonious," the second tune, and a Bill Holman style contrapuntal section to take the tune out to a soft and mellow ending.
The pacing is marvelous on this CD. Number 3, "Pleading Dim Cap," is worth the CD alone. It is a driving and energetically contrapuntal funky fusion tune. Listen for Michael Miller's oh-so-masterfully executed bass trombone lines.
Then "Daydream," a laid back presentation of an Ellington/Strayhorn tune, followed by the title tune, "My Museum," and "Body and Soul," featuring the strong interpretation by baritone saxophonist Bill Ramsey.
I'm only a little chagrined that my wife immediately got the title of Juan Beatov Stomp. Had I pronounced the title correctly I would have figured it out. But no, I thought it was some Spanish Russian guy. I mean, it really took seven-eighths of my brainpower to finally figure it out.
"It's a Lazy Afternoon," a LaTourche/Moross melodic creation, under Phil's most expert eye, has been turned into an ethereal, muted sound, with Bill Cunliffe's piano solo lifting the tune to an even higher level.
What better way to end this CD than with a fast screaming new arrangement of "Zip Code 2005," so named to distinguish it from an earlier version.
Great solos, great section work, intriguing contrapuntal lines, a totally tasty harmonic palette, and the best musicians you'll find in any corner of world, make this CD one to add to your collection of big band jazz.