Alan Baylock / Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra

Two Seconds to Midnight

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Alan Baylock's big band, which is based in Virginia, serves as proof that there are plenty of great jazz musicians based outside of the major metropolitan areas. The musicianship in his orchestra can hold its own with its New York and Los Angeles counterparts. Baylock provided all of the arrangements along with two compositions. Pat Metheny's "Song for Bilbao" sounds quite natural in the modern big-band format, "Night and Day" has some exciting playing from the heated tenor saxophones of Tyler Kuebler and Jeff Antoniuk, Tim Leahey's warm fl├╝gelhorn is featured on "Skylark," and "Two Seconds to Midnight" shows that the band is not unaware of rock. "Sea Changes" is a change of pace for it features guest pianist Ken Werner stretching out with the trio. Other songs include Jerry Bergonzi's shouting original "Out House," a catchy rendition of "One Mint Julep" (which has tradeoffs between two heated double-timing altoists and pairs of trumpeters and trombonists), some very fluent trombone from Ben Patterson on "Dee Minor," a lengthy jam on "Cotton Tail" (which has a second appearance from Werner), and a melancholy version of "When I Fall in Love." Highly recommended.

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