Hailing from Germany, Chris Walden has combined the two elements of European big band with classic American big band to release a great album.
What really stands out here are the two tracks "People Will Say We're In Love" and "Smile." Both are sung by vocalist Tierney Sutton, the Milwaukee born, Los Angeles transplant who really brings those two songs to life. The album starts off with Walden's version of the David Foster 2006 Winter Olympic theme which is good, really good. This easily flows into "When You Wish Upon A Star" with alto solo by Kim Richmond.
What is really great here are the three Disney songs. Most people will take traditional jazz songs and make them their own with "Someday My Prince Will Come," a Miles-inspired work but taking the three Disney songs and big banding them was a great idea--they really work here.
With "Someday My Prince Will Come" it is hard not to be Wynton Kelly inspired or copying his chords. Pianist Steinberger really shows that he can follow Kelly but play is the way he wants to play.
This album by Chris Walden is a great big band album. Everything including the sound is in place. It does not feel too big bandish at all. With the addition of Sutton on vocals and Walden not just conducting but directing everyone, this should be an album on your shelf.
It has the right atmosphere and the right songs, Walden has a winner here. Big band it is labeled and big band it is.