Thursday, May 05, 2005

Master workers

I had the good fortune of hearing the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra play its Count Basie Centennial tribute show last fall and I have been picking up CDs since by some of the players. Guitarist Royce Campbell didn't get to stand out much in a big band setting but I was seated close enough to enjoy his sound, which is somewhere between Herb Ellis and Pat Martino. His CD "Pitapat" puts him in a trio with a bassist and drummer so you can hear him, and you'll be glad you can.

Trumpeter Tom Williams got to solo more prominently and I was impressed enough to buy "Introducing Tom Williams," a nice straight-ahead Jazz Messenger-like disk with Javon Jackson on sax and Kenny Barron playing piano.

My favorite acquisition is probably "Heart & Soul: The Music of Hoagy Carmichael" from the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, a project involving trombonist Brent Wallarab, who helps lead and does a lot of the arranging for the Smithsonian band. Great music, excellent playing and some fine singing by crooner Everett Greene of Indianapolis, who filled the Joe Williams role in the Basie tribute. (He even looks kind of like Joe Williams.) The B-W band plays regularly at the Jazz Kitchen in Indy, a nice venue I've mentioned before.

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