Monday, January 14, 2013

Songs I Like A Lot John Hollenbeck Sunnyside 2013

Songs I Like a LotBig band goes a bit more mainstream while still maintaining an eclectic twist thanks to the latest from John Hollenbeck Songs I Like A Lot hitting the streets 01/29/13. Some first call musicians including Kate McGary, Gary Versace, and Theo Blackman join Hollenbeck and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band and deconstruct some more traditional pop tunes with some righteous arrangements and outstanding individual and ensemble performances. 

Big band in the west seemed to have been hiding out in the jazz witness protection program with only a half dozen or so attempting to push the genre forward to a more viable contemporary sound in an effort to perhaps gain a more mass appeal from jazz fans as a whole. To begin, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band is the real deal and performs wide open on all cylinders and has the ability to change dynamics on the fly if need be. Songs I Like A Lot works about just about every level known to music due largely in part to the prolific talent of arranger and conductor John Hollenbeck who in addition to bringing the fun back to big band, works the percussion side of the street on a dynamite arrangement of Queen's classic "Bicycle Race." One of the real stunners on this exceptional release is a cover of the Jimmy Webb classic "Wichita Lineman." Another Jimmy Webb cover that is banged out with precision and flair is "The Moon's Harsh Mistress." Hollenbeck is not afraid to re harmonize a classic but understands you never mess with a great melody. "All My Life" finds the band shifting gears to a decidedly more intimate approach yet the Ornette Coleman tune retains a deceptively complex harmonic progression. Finally there is the previously mentioned Queen smash "Bicycle Race" which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Great tunes, some killer arrangements and guest artists including Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry and Gary Versace help put the paddles to what was once considered traditional big band and breath new life into an often overlooked genre.

Welcome back Big Band! We missed you!

Tracks: Witchita Lineman; Canvas; The Moon's Harsh Mistress; Man of Constant Sorrow; All My Life; Bicycle Race; FallsLake; Chapel Files.

Personnel: John Hollenbeck: arranger, conductor, mallet-percussion; Theo Blackmann: voice; Kate McGary: voice; Gary Versace: piano, organ.

The Frankfort Radio Big Band:
Heinz-Dieter Sauerborn: alto & soprano saxophone, flute; Oliver Leicht: alto saxophone, alto clarinet, flute; Steffen Weber: tenor & soprano saxophone, flute; Julian Arguelles: tenor & soprano saxophone, flute; Rainer Heute: bass saxophone, bass clarinet; Frank Wellert: trumpet, flugelhorn; Thomas Vogel: trumpet, flugelhorn; Martin Auer: trumpet, flugelhorn; Axel Schlosser: trumpet, flugelhorn; Gunter Bollmann: trombone; Peter Fell: trombone; Christian Jaksjo: trombone, tenor horn; Manfred Honetschlager: bass trombone; Martin Scales: guitar; Thomas Heidepriem: bass; Jean Paul Hochstadter: drums.