The Flying Horse Big Band welcomes tenor saxophonist-composer Harry Allen on their eighth self-release, Big Man on Campus. Based at the University of Central Florida, the Flying Horse Big Band record contains both covers and original compositions, regaling audiences with Big Band-fashioned orchestrations reflective of the works by such bandleaders as Duke Ellington and Chick Corea.
The lounging swells of Allen’s saxophone cruising along “Dreamsville” are coated in creamy textures comprised of Ryan Waszmer’s guitar chords and a small flock of horns. The springy tempo of “June Song” has a Henry Mancini-like glow, and the swinging thrusts speckling “This Is My Lucky Day” display a jitterbug swivel with a buoyancy in the rhythm section that is akin to Cab Calloway.
Indulging in bebop-inspired musings, “B.M.O.C.” treads off the beaten path of classic Big Band swing and browses through models of jam session-style correspondence, as the horns and rhythm section explore a series of frolicking strides, sharing a kindred vitality with the likes of Charlie Parker and Billy Strayhorn. The balladry mannerism of Allen’s saxophone scripts gentle missives along “Can You Love Once More,” which seduces the listener with its tender voicing.
An avid practitioner of torchlight atmospherics, “A Lonely Breeze” spindles a tranquilizing dreamscape with balmy aesthetics emanating from the horns. The band dabbles in Latin-imbued rhythms as well with the salsa-accented shimmies of “Partido Blue” and the bossa nova strut of “The New Creole Love Call,” wielding a siesta ambience. The funky grooves of “Move, Move, Move” show the band’s diversity, probing contemporary melodic idioms.
Exhibiting a flare for Big Band swing in their arrangements, the Flying Horse Big Band makes no attempts to duplicate or repeat the past but takes classic swing forms into the 21st century. The band fuses decades of melodic jazz into a single recording, regaling audiences with their multi-faceted brew.
“Dreamsville,” “June Song,” “This Is My Lucky Day,” “B.M.O.C.,” “Can You Love Once More,” “A Lonely Breeze,” “Triste,” “Partido Blue,” “Move, Move, Move,” “The One for You,” “Raincheck,” “The New Creole Love Call”