A hell of an impression for his debut album. On Stand Up Eight
, conductor and arranger Steve Owen brings together an 18-piece ensemble for an astounding display of orchestral jazz. Moments that absolutely soar and others that jitter invitingly closer to earth. The kind of beauty and power that can uplift a listener's heart at the same time it's punching a hole through it. Just one strong moment after the next. And this is a big band album, in both mind and body. That potent mix of wild euphoria and fighting spirit is present whether it's the thrilling swoon of album opener "Fall Down Seven Stand Up Eight" or the equally thrilling but moody album closer "Following In Your Footsteps," or the Latin-infusion of "As Of Now" and the retrograde burner "State of the Union," or his arrangements of Radiohead's "Kid A" and Cole Porter's "Everything I Love." No matter what the influence or intent of the arrangement, it's two feet dead center of Big Band Jazz territory, solid.