Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen, principles of GRP Records. The band was a full band, and they mostly played well-known jazz pieces from the 1950s and 1960s written by famous musicians and composers. Many of these pieces were rearranged presenting a character of their own.
GRP is best known as a label specializing in slick and accessible jazz, but, in 1992, labelheads Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen
decided to put together a conventional but star-studded big band
comprised of their company's top players. The recordings featured such
musicians as Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker, Chuck Findley, Dave Grusin, Ernie Watts, Bob Mintzer, Dave Valentin, John Patitucci, and even Tom Scott, Eric Marienthal, Nelson Rangell, and Lee Ritenour
playing straightahead charts of jazz standards from the 1950s and '60s.
The recordings actually offer few surprises (other than the fact that Scott and company still remember how to play bop), but are enjoyable outings.
Lee Ritenour, Tom Scott, Randy Brecker and other big names from Dave Grushin's jazz label gather for a one-day, en masse
blow-out. The repertoire includes be-bop, post-bop and contemporary
standards, with Coltrane's "Blue Train" and Wayne Shorter's "Footprints"
highlighting a disc that's markedly more spirited than the GRP norm.
Wow! I first heard this album ten years ago while a fledgling jazz
musician in high school. This album went on to become the best of my
collection - I even spun it so many times in my player that I had to buy
another copy of it. What makes this album so amazing is not
neccessarily the setlist, but the musicians! GRP assembled some of
their great label performers and got them together for this project
(with a few more to follow). All of the musicians are incredible, but
you'll notice some standout performances from Eric Marienthal (Alto
Sax), Arturo Sandoval (Trumpet), Randy Brecker (Trumpet), and Bob
Mintzer (Tenor Sax). I read somewhere that music is the closest thing
to magic there is, and after listening to this album, you'll see why.
sets the stage nicely, followed by a perfect rendition of Coltrane's
"Blue Train", with the best 24 bar blues solo I've ever heard from Bob
Mintzer on Tenor Sax. "Donna Lee" features some blistering solo work
by Nelson Rangell, Gary Burton, and Eddie Daniels. "Maiden Voyage" is
easy and laid back, leading right up to one of the true gems of this
album, "Sister Sadie", a crowd-pleaser if ever there was one.
Marienthal's amazing Sax work still knocks me back every time I hear it!
Up next is "The Sidewinder", and this is an excellent arrangement that
Randy Brecker lights up on Trumpet. The next three tunes take it down a
notch - "Seven Steps to Heaven" features a great (and rare)Marienthal
Tenor Sax solo, and "I Remember Clifford" stands out as the album's
premeire ballad. Sandoval is inhumanly good as always, and leads right
up to an amazing climax! "Footprints" follows, featuring some great
jazz guitar by Lee Ritenour. The last great showstopper of the album is
next - Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca". Across the board amazing
performances by the ensemble, featuring Dave Valentin (Flute), killer
Piano by the Killer Kenny Kirkland, and the ultimate Trumpet battle
royale by Sandoval and Brecker! The album is rounded out with more
great work on Sax by Ernie Watts on " 'Round Midnight", and closes with a
smooth version of Chick Corea's "Spain".
I have a very diverse music
collection, and I'm proud to seat this album up at the top with other
masterpieces of rock, jazz and classical music. I challenge you to
listen to this CD and try- just try not to enjoy it. I dare you!
This album is an absolute must-have for everybody, who likes jazz,
because, after you will listen to it, it will make you not just like
jazz, but LOVE jazz and become devoted to it. I've had this CD for a
couple of years by now, but still I keep listening to it at least five
days a week. It's just gorgeous. My favorites are The Sidewinder, Sister
Sadie and Blue Train. If you buy this one, you'll never regret it.
When this CD was released, it was a major
surprise. GRP is a label whose initial reputation was made on pop-ish
jazz. However, co-founders Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen always had a love
for the sound of big bands and for hard bop. For this set, they
gathered together some of the most notable players on their label to
play 12 jazz standards dating from the mid-'40s ("Donna Lee") up to the
early '70s ("Spain"). The lineup of musicians is quite impressive,
comprised of trumpeters Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker, and Sal Marquez;
trombonist George Bohanon (who had to be imported since GRP did not
have any trombonists); a reed section of Eric Marienthal, Nelson
Rangell, Bob Mintzer, Ernie Watts and Tom Scott; bassist John Patitucci;
drummer Dave Weckl; and several alternating pianists (Grusin, Russell
Ferrante, Kenny Kirkland, and David Benoit), plus such guests as
guitarist Lee Ritenour, flutist Dave Valentine, vibraphonist Gary
Burton, clarinetist Eddie Daniels, and percussionist Alex Acuna.
On the strictly straight-ahead set, which has such tunes as "Blue
Train," "Sister Sadie," "The Sidewinder," and "Manteca," all of the
musicians are featured adequately. It is a particular revelation hearing
Marienthal and Rangell sound passable in this setting. Easily
recommended to hard bop and big band collectors.
01 - Airegin
02 - Blue Train
03 - Donna Lee
04 - Maiden Voyage
05 - Sister Sadie
06 - The Sidewinder
07 - Seven Steps To Heaven
08 - I Remember Clifford
09 - Footprints
10 - Manteca
11 - 'Round Midnight
12 - Spain
Lee Ritenour (guitar);
Nelson Rangell (flute, piccolo, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone);
Bob Mintzer (flute, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone);
Tom Scott (flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone);
Eric Marienthal, Ernie Watts (flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone);
Dave Valentin (flute);
Eddie Daniels (clarinet);
Randy Brecker, Sal Marquez, Arturo Sandoval (trumpet, flugelhorn);
George Bohannon (trombone);
Dave Grusin, David Benoit, Kenny Kirkland, Russell Ferrante (piano);
Gary Burton (vibraphone);
Dave Weckl (drums);
Alex Acuña & the Unknowns, Alex Acuña (percussion)
John Patitucci - Bass.