After decades of small group work, Gordon Lee has taken the last eight years or so to start work on big-band arrangements, culminating in Flying Dream with the Gleeful Big Band, a collection of Portland jazz scene regulars (you might note Origin artists Stan Bock and Tim Jensen included along the way on lead trombone and piano, respectively). The motifs head for inspiration, but the music is somewhat spotty in terms of relaying the mood hoped for. Regardless of the themes, it's fine music however. The band plays well together, though it seems a bit makeshift from time to time (which works in favor of the feel in a number of songs), and the soloists make themselves known quite well as they get their moments in the sun. Highlights include the grooving bluesy "Tobacco Monkey" (an anti-smoking anthem, actually) and the ending "Alternative Blues." Both allow the horn sections to cut loose in various solos in widely different styles, one funky and one somewhat more restrained. The arrangements are perhaps not as consistent as the recent Kim Richmond album, but it's still a very nice showcase of the Portland scene thrown into combinations.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg