The Urban Renewal Project (URP), Los Angeles-based big band is set to release its first full length album, Go Big or Go Home, September 18, 2012. And believe me, if you're into dynamite horns laid over funky bass and rippling vocals spiced with rap, you want to rush out and get your copy. Hell, if you're into fantastic music, you'll want this album.
URP is a 12 piece band led by tenor sax man R.W. Enoch, Jr. who also composed seven of the album's nine tracks and arranged the whole disc. The band's vocalist is Kenny Neely, who, perhaps to demonstrate that he is not your run of the mill band singer, appears in the liner photos sans pants. He is joined on six tracks by rapper, Logic the Topic. The band itself includes alto (Alex Myers), soprano (Brian Clements), and baritone (Matt Ballard) saxes along with Enoch's tenor, three trumpets (Max O'Leary and Eliot Deutsch, Jeff Collins and Vinny Dawson split the tracks) two trombones (Ryan Dragon and Lemar Guillary) and a bass trombone (Michael King).There is also some doubling on flute, piccolo, and flugelhorn. Michael McFadden plays electric bass and Scott Spongberg is on drums and percussion. I mention them all because their steller work deserves to be recognized. These guys are players.
According to the liner notes, they recorded all together except for the vocals in one room with limited editing and not a synthesizer in sight. When you hear the results you have to wonder why more bands don't follow suit. There is an ensemble energy in their performance that too often gets lost in overproduction. It just goes to show there is still something to be said for the old ways of doing things.