The Ben Grisafi Big Band

Talk of the Town

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Packed with personnel who at one time were members of big bands headed by Harry James, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Xavier Cugat, to name just some, the Baldwin, NY-based Ben Grisafi Big Band keeps the light, distinctive style of this music burning bright with Talk of the Town. With a play list of 18 tunes, most of them classics associated with one big band or another, but updated with fresh Grisafi arrangements, this album provides a generous 73 minutes of music that once was America's favorite and is still alive, kicking, and swinging in many parts of the country. The section playing is exceptional and loose, while the soloists obviously have played these arrangements many times before. An open horn, romantic Harry James-like Chuck Genduso trumpet is featured on "Over the Rainbow" and a Rudy Tanza alto on a lovely "Here's That Rainy Day." But it's the ensemble playing that distinguishes this group from others on today's scene. The playing is disciplined, but not so tight as to be strained. The screaming trumpet section raises the roof on "My Buddy," riffing away like mad, all propelled along by the high-powered drums of Al Miller, whose command of the rhythm recalls the work of Big Sid Catlett and Dave Tough. And what's a band without a good girl singer. Denise Richards fills that role with distinction as she lends her vocal skills to "Speak Low," "The Song Is You," and "Time After Time." While Grisafi's bright, modern arrangements don't allow a complete nostalgic time warp, they certainly do recall those halcyon days when big bands ruled the musical world. This album is also a reminder how vigorous a large, rehearsed group playing well-conceived charts can sound. Recommended.