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Dave Glenn

National Pastime

Many talented jazz musicians are hidden from the jazz audience because they are full-time teachers in various colleges around the country, instead of gigging frequently in large metropolitan centers and making regular visits to the recording studio. Trombonist Dave Glenn is hardly new to the scene, as he spent a decade with the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band, recording and performing with the baritonist and others before becoming director of jazz studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. His concept for this CD of new compositions is original, each was inspired by one of a series of 18 professional baseball games that he watched in person over the course of taking a month off from music a few years prior to the record date. Assembling a first-rate band, including veterans like trumpeter Dave Scott and tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, plus a solid rhythm section led by young pianist Gary Versace, with bassist John Hebert and drummer Jeff Hirschfield, Glenn's pieces don't rely on lyrics (as do the several baseball songs by pianist Dave Frishberg) but seek to convey his impressions of the game. "Roberto Clemente Bridge" is named for the walking bridge that takes fans from downtown Pittsburgh to PNC Park, a majestic piece with an appropriate Latin undercurrent that conveys the dignity of the late, great Pirate outfielder. The interplay between Scott and Perry is a highlight of "The Hammer," a tribute to the uncontroversial home run king Hank Aaron. The hectic post-bop cooker "Lost in the Sun" commemorates a fly ball that was missed in an important game, while the session wraps with "Bottom of the Ninth," an extended Latin number that showcases the tightness of the assembled band. This is an ambitious project by Dave Glenn and he clearly hits one out of the park with this fine effort.

 

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