Trumpeter Tony Kadleck leads a big band ensemble of New York City-based musicians in his own exciting arrangements of an eclectic set of tunes that range from jazz standards to R&B. He also takes a shot at a Leonard Bernstein show tune on his August release, Around the Horn. It is an album filled with tight ensemble work and a cache of fine solos—big band jazz as good as it gets in the hands of professionals who know what it takes.
The set opens with guitarist John Scofield’s “Green Tea,” which gives Pete McCann, the band’s own guitarist, the opportunity to show his stuff. A “noirish” arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “Creepin’” follows, and it features Jason Rigby on tenor sax and Michael Davis on trombone. This is the first of two Stevie Wonder tunes, as they take on “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” later in the set. Michael Brecker’s “African Skies” has brother Randy showing up on trumpet for a hot guest shot, complemented by some equally creative lines from pianist Henry Hey.
The Marvin Gaye classic “What’s Going On” is a pleasing change of pace, leading to a swinging version of Cannonball Adderley’s “Wabash.” Kadleck himself handles the solo work on the Michel Legrand standard “How Do You Keep the Music Playing,” and plays flugelhorn on his intense arrangement of the ballad “One Hand, One Heart” from West Side Story. This last one, a lyrical showpiece, includes solo work from Charles Pillow on clarinet, Aaron Heick on flute, and David Mann on alto sax. Jobim’s “Look to the Sky” follows for a bit of Latin jazz, and they end with an inventive reimagining of the Tommy Dorsey theme, “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.”
Kadleck’s Around the Horn is another in the spate of very fine big band albums released in recent months. Who knows, perhaps the time is right for resurrection, and if not, at least we’re getting a lot of really fine music while we wait.
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