Newyorkestra Big Band

Urban Soundscapes

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The Newyorkestra Big Band is cut from the same cloth as earlier orchestras like the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. But this collective plays a wide range of music and doesn't focus primarily on a leader's repertoire, though it isn't apparent who actually leads the band. Trombonist Pete McGuinness contributed the snappy opener, "Out of the Frying Pan" (which was the result of a National Endowment for the Arts grant), showcasing himself and soprano saxophonist Steve Kenyon to good effect. He also arranged David Liebman's "As Always," a moody ballad featuring soprano saxophonist Andy Middleton. Tenor saxophonist Rob Middleton contributed the tense Latin-flavored cooker "Digital Life," with fine solos by Bill Mobley (on muted trumpet) and the composer. Both men are also on hand for Middleton's arrangement of Herbie Hancock's turbulent "One Finger Snap," which the band navigates with finesse. One of the more intriguing tracks is the curious blend of two songs associated with Miles Davis, also arranged by Middleton: Ron Carter's "Eighty One" and Davis' "It's About Time." It is easy to understand why this chart would appeal to audiences fortunate enough to hear the Newyorkestra Big Band in a live setting.

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