Sunday, April 10, 2011

Captain Black Big Band

Photo: Howard Pitkow -

I am just beginning to listen to the Posi-Tone recordings that the label was kind enough to send me.  As I type I have 'Here's the Captain' playin' and man oh man am I ever groovin to it.  It's the second cut from Captain Black Big Band.  The band is directed by pianist Orrin Evans.  Evans solos, as does Victor North on sax.  The recording was made at the Jazz Gallery, NYC, about a year ago.  

I don't listen to a lot of big band jazz, having an incurable fondness for the small combo.  This is the kind of album that makes me think I am really missing out.  The kind of big band that I do like has the virtues of a classical concerto, or baseball for that matter: one virtuoso stands on home plate and faces the opposing team.  You get the best of individual action and team play at the same time.  

Captain Black has everything in the playbook.  The band is superbly tight, vibrant, and confident.  I especially like the way that the compositions are laid out and succinctly stated.  One moment the whole band is producing a torrent of gorgeous sound and then the band lays down a bit, with a single, bold notes marking the way.  For the solos, little combos form and break up behind a slithering bass clarinet (Todd Marcus) or a trumpet (Walter White). 

This is a very fine recording.  It will have you dancing in the kitchen, if you can listen to in the kitchen.  Pony up for Captain Black Big Band.  Tell 'em I sent ya. 

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