Upside Out

Riverside Community College Jazz Band

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Upside Out Review

by Scott Yanow

A few different versions of the Riverside Community College Jazz Ensemble (the recording dates are not given) are featured on this impressive set. The material, by the likes of Lyle Mays, Pat Metheny, Rick Margitza, Chris Potter, Béla Fleck, and Bob Brookmeyer (the only standard is Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee"), is modern yet swinging and the soloists (all students except tenor saxophonist Jeff Ellwood, who is featured on "Nasty Dance") sound surprisingly mature. Best are three numbers ("Bumbershoot," "Wondering," and "Donna Lee") featuring the trio of tenor saxophonist Jason Jamerson, bassist Shane Jordan, and drummer Chad Villarreal. In other words, this set of post-bop jazz is on a higher level than nearly all other college recordings, and the musicians sound as if they are 30 rather than 20. Sea Breeze, a label that has extensively documented college and high-school bands, has a strong winner in Upside Out.

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