21st CENTURY BIG BANDS…
by George W. Harris • April 26, 2018
While they don’t tour like they used to, Big Bands are still popular in the studio. If any of these orchestras come to town, check them out, as if for no other reason to help subsidize the efforts. Luckily, there’s rewarding sounds for your investment as well.
Leading a big band dedicated to a “new” big band tradition, Ira B. Liss leads a collection of hard hitting So Cals including Bob Mintzer/ts, Eric Marienthal/as, Holly Hoffman/fl and Dean Brown/g. The team is bold, and hits hard as electric bassist Lance Jeppesen lays down hip lines for Christopher Hollyday’s steamy alto sax on a charging “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” Marienthal delivers wonderful schmaltz on a passionate “Early Autumn” and Mintzer swaggers on his rock shuffling “When the Lady Dances.” The team gets funky with fusion on “Manhattan Burn” and bel canto on “Over the Rainbow” Vocalist Janet Hammer is cozy on “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” moody and wanderlust with Hoffman on “Nature Boy,” complete with bird tweets, and slinky on a slithering “Ya Turn Me On, Baby.” Classic sounds in bold colors.