Album Remarks & Appraisals:
All About Jazz - Bruce Lindsay
Beats And Pieces Big Band: a great name, for this is a band that knows how to emphasize the beat. Big Ideas, the debut album from this Manchester-based ensemble (a four-track EP was released in 2009 but is now deleted), is filled with danceable grooves and rhythms, mixed in with some more reflective melodies to create an absorbing and stimulating set.
The band - the brainchild of Ben Cottrell, who's the director and the composer of all of the tunes except Ben Watte's "Sisterhood" - began to make a name for itself well before the release of Big Ideas, winning the Burghausen European Young Artists' Jazz Award in 2011. The instrumental lineup is firmly in standard big band territory, but Cottrell brings added color to the sound by the use of electronics and also through Patrick Hurley's Fender Rhodes. This is a band filled with young musicians, new to the professional scene but still clearly full of enthusiasm for playing in a large ensemble. Cottrell keeps a tight rein on the section playing, which is uniformly excellent, but gives space to the players for some equally fine solos. ... read more...