Its evident from hearing the jazz big band works of composer, arranger, conductor and trombonist Henry Wolking’s debut album on Big Round Records, IN SEA, that he effectively mixes complexity with simplicity in his jazz harmonies and colorful orchestrations that make for an exciting and memorable listening experience. The inspired solo work of band members and guest artists add to the sincere and fresh cosmopolitan character of the recording.
The debut album from jazz piano prodigy Joey Alexander, 2015's My Favorite Things showcases the 11-year-old's stunning keyboard virtuosity. Joining Alexander here is a mix of older and younger associates, including journeyman bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. Also backing Alexander on various tracks are bassist Russell Hall, drummer Sammy Miller, and up-and-coming firebrand trumpeter Alphonso Horne. Working with Grammy-winning producer Jason Olaine, who previously helmed albums by such jazz luminaries as Roy Hargrove, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and others, Alexander delivers a handful of jazz standards and songs culled from the American Popular Songbook in adroit, acoustic, swinging fashion.
For this set, tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins is showcased in an all-star octet also including altoist Bud Shank, baritonist Jack Nimitz, trumpeter Stu Williamson, trombonist Carl Fontana, pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Mel Lewis. Perk's tone is heard throughout at its coolest (influenced by Lester Young but distinctive within the style) and there are plenty of short spots for the other key voices.
The passionately played opening piano notes on the first song "Lines Are Drawn Again" suggest a great retro prog rock sound that harkens back to the earliest days of the 70's with a singer whose delivery may sound monotone at first but he will reveal incredible depth and expression with each subsequent track…