Timed to coincide with the 2006 Olympics, Chris Walden's modern big band takes on an intricate arrangement (by Walden) of David Foster's "Winter Games," the official theme for the competition. On the short-play of the same title, two arrangements of the piece are performed. The first is the proper version, as heard on No Bounds. This version includes a lengthy solo on the tenor sax from Brandon Fields, as well as a few shorter solos. A radio edit (essentially the same arrangement, but without the solos) is also included. In both versions, one gets the chance to hear the modern big band at its best. Eschewing the usual repertoire of Miller, Ellington, and the various swing composers that most big bands lean toward, Walden's sound is fresh. There are hints of the post-bop era in the music, but not enough to detract from the sheer originality of the sound. On Winter Games, Walden takes his arranging skills to a new arena, remaking what is otherwise a nice, if basic, piece of theme music into a longer jazz piece and moving it just beyond immediate recognition. Go for the full albums from Walden first, if for no other reason than that you can hear the "Winter Games" theme as well as a set of additional works.
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg