George W. Carroll

Life Is Better

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Living and working out of Sarasota, FL, bandleader/vocalist and Massachusetts native George W. Carroll recorded this second album with his very large big band. The format follows the pattern of the band's initial release -- standard material mixed with five Carroll originals. Carroll also is the band's boy singer, singing in a strong Tony Bennett-like baritone on most cuts. He has a good voice, but it is virtually absent any dynamics. Each rendering sounds just like the one that preceded it. He swings, but doesn't bounce. The arrangements for the standards are mostly stock charts. Conversely, arrangements for Carroll's material are more inventive. Despite this mixed bag, the band does a commendable job. There is good unidentified soloing, such as the tenor sax on "Sophisticated Lady." The ensemble work is solid and the band stays in tune. One of the better charts is "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," which once more features good solo work, again on tenor and on flute. Don Scaletta, who made three of his own albums for Capitol and Verve back in the 1960s, has a lengthy solo on "Destination Love" and provides solid backdrop for Carroll's vocalizing on such tunes as "Dreamsville." This is one of the top tracks on the set. With playing reminiscent of Stan Kenton's let's-hear-the-trumpet-section approach coupled with good solos and acceptable singing by Carroll, fans of big-band music will find this album entertaining.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:33
2 6:38
3 4:41
4 4:50
5 4:42
6 4:38
7 4:42
8 4:38
9 2:51
10 2:26
11 3:37
12 3:36
13 3:23
14 2:40
blue highlight denotes track pick