Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra(their slogan is "No Man's Band") released their first live CD in 2003, which is available through their web site www.divajazz.com. Sherrie Maricle, a fine big band drummer and arranger, attracts droves of talented female instrumentalists to her band, often leading to individual recording dates for her top soloists. This 2002 concert at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild showcases a number of great solos and tight section work throughout. "Did You Do That" is an old-fashioned battle between two tenor saxophonists, with both Anat Cohen and Schelia Gonzalez coming up winners. "Rockin' in Rhythm" is taken down a funky path by arranger Scott Whitfield (one of a number of writers who contribute band charts), featuring baritone saxophonist Lisa Parrott
and Cohen again, this time on soprano sax. Dennis Mackrel's scoring of "In a Mellotone" has some delicious muted trumpet by Jami Dauber and the growling trombone of Deborah Weiss, both powered by Noriko Ueda's walking bass. Alto saxophonist Karolina Strassmayer has a tough act to match Johnny Hodges' many landmark versions of "Prelude to a Kiss," but her confident interpretation stands on its own merits very well. The blazing rendition of Louis Armstrong's "Swing That Music" is a tough act to follow, but the extended workout of yet another Ellington tune, "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'", with a playful introduction in Rich Shemaria's imaginative chart and a thought provoking piano solo by Chihiro Yamanaka, proves to be the perfect finale to a great set of live big band jazz. If you haven't already discovered Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra, this is the ideal CD to make yourself better acquainted.