If you want some bang for your musical buck, here are a pair of 2 cd sets. Not only that, but the bands are pretty hefty; one is a “traditional” big band, and the other has a wide variety of sounds and visions.
Bassist/composer David Baker was a major contributor to jazz education. His compositions are rich and thoughtful, and his bass playing was so clean that he was used on a ton of the famed “Play Along” cds. Here, the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra tackles a number of his compositions.
Guitarist Dave Stryker and trumpeter Randy Brecker guest on the sweet “Kirsten’s First Song” while the sections deliver hip harmonies as Wayne Wallace sizzles through the swinging swaggering “Honesty.” The bop chops fly on the high octane read of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bebop” with some piercing solos by Tom Wals/as, Graham Breedlove and some snappy stick work by Steve Houghton. Some glowing work is provided as the horns caress Rich Perry’s tenor on “Soft Summer Rain” and Buselli displays his trumpet chops on the fun “The Georgia Peach.” A joy for big band lovers.
Meanwhile, pianist and composer Gabriel Zucker delivers a mix of indie and jazz on this wide range of sounds and textures. Zucker’s team includes three strings, three tenor saxes (one doubles on clarinet), Adam O’Farrill’s horn, bass, drums and electronics along with voices from Artemisz Polonyi and Lorena del Mar.
At times, you get these soft and cerebral vocal pieces with gentle dressing as on “You’ll Always Know/I’ll Follow You” as well as some left of center abstractions, crashes and screams on “Headlight Imprecise.” The saxes sear and charge on the thrashing “In The Audience” while O’Farrill’s horn pierces the ozone on “Were Alone/Knowledge Clown.” Modern pop vocals get synthy on “The End” and the team gets loose and languid on “3.5 Rotations.” Should be something to see in concert!