Bazen Big Band "Tonight He's Mine"
Washington Area Music Association nominated "Tonight
He's Mine" for a WAMMIE
in the Best Jazz Recording category!
what the Gazette Newspapers say about The
James Bazen Big Band at Paisanos.
has a great review!
Hal's Past Picks on the
Jazz Canada Web Site:
James Bazen leads his Maryland-based big band on this
1996 CD of standards and originals. It's a well-balanced
aggregation driven ostensibly by drummer Steve Larrance,
with excellent solos by such performers as trombonists
Doug Elliot ("Tonight He's Mine"/"The Funky Little Drummer
Boy"), tenor man Kellogg Johnson ("Syeeda's Song Flute"/"Chillin'
"), and trumpeter Mike Davis ("The Funky Little Drummer
Boy"). Bazen himself, who charted most of the numbers,
shows his versatility on flute ("Summertime"), alto sax
("Stranger Things"), soprano ("The Funky Little Drummer
Boy") and clarinet ("Danny the Samba Boy""). Four of the
eleven compositions have vocals - Patty McKay, offering
a wide dynamic range and great flexibility with the lyrics
on "Willow Weep for Me", while Debbie Macfarlan treats
her own "Tonight He's Mine" with a rich, strong voice
to an orchestral Latin Beat. The relaxed, almost bluesy
"Chillin' " and John Coltrane's "Syeeda's Song Flute"
proved most satisfying for this listener. (J.S.)
styles come through on this CD - from Samba, funky to
bluesy. Shows a lot of class and excellence with unison
sounds. -Jazz Connection, the official publication of
the World Jazz Network, December 1997
enterprising endeavor by another of the many uncelebrated
bands that continue somehow to survive in today's exceedingly
hostile musical climate, is enhanced by Bazen's remarkable
musicianship, in particular his quirky arrangements of
two well known traditional songs, "Danny Boy" and "The
Little Drummer Boy," which he transmutes into thoroughly
charming conveyances for his well-drilled contemporary
ensemble. Bazen, who plays a number of woodwinds, wrote
and arranged the shuffling cooker, "Stranger Things,"
and the laid back blues, "Chillin'," and expertly charted
"There Is No Greater Love" and the title selection, whose
composer, Debbie Macfarlan, doubles as vocalist.
Pianist Gary Hill contributed two impressive charts, "Summertime"
(taken as a vigorous samba) and "I Could Write A Book"
(one of Patty McKay's three vocals - she's also heard
on "You Can Have It" and the Matt Harris arrangement of
"Willow Weep For Me").
In addition to Bazen (flute on "Summertime," clarinet
on "Danny The Samba Boy," alto sax on "Stranger Things"
and "Chillin'," soprano sax on "Funky Little Drummer Boy"),
there are respectable solos by pianists Hill (on his two
charts) and Brown; tenors Johnson (who arranged and solos
on John Coltrane's "Syeeda's Song Flute") and Lerman;
trumpeters McClaeb, Davis and Greene; trombonists Cheal,
Gordon and Elliott; guitarists Litz, and drummer Larrance
(who anchors a capable and industrious rhythm section).
another unequivocal indication of the enormous reservoir
of musical talent that lies largely untapped and unappreciated
in almost every decent-sized metropolitan area in this
country. Listen for yourself.
-Jack Bowers Cadence, November 1997