Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Chicago-based composer, arranger, and trumpeter Joe Clark has launched a debut big band album in an economic environment. The Billy Strayhorn ballad "Lush Life" is executed with a rich texture and a strong tenor saxophone solo from Chris Madsen. The band offers five covers and three originals that demonstrate a common idea among the members of the ensemble. The Latin-flavored "Samba De Martelo" is adroitly imagined with guitarist Mike Pinto on firm ground. The Walter Gross/Jack Lawrence standard "Tenderly" which generally is a vocal tune. The pieces are inventive and highly-adaptable, thereby giving the band a chance to relax. The soloists make good use of the structure of the charts to demonstrate their skills, with trombonist Tom Garling in the lead on the first tune, Victor Garcia on trumpet on the second, and finally pianist Ryan Cohan on the last offering.
Personnel: Mike Pinto (guitar); Dan Nicholson (flute, alto saxophone); Chris Madsen, Anthony Bruno (flute, tenor saxophone); Corbin Andrick (clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Mark Hiebert (bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Brent Turney, Joe Clark , Victor Garcia , Chuck Parrish, B.J. Cord (trumpet, flugelhorn); Bryant Scott, Andy Baker , Tom Garling (trombone); Tom Matta (bass trombone); Ryan Cohan (piano).
Audio Mixers: Joe Clark ; Thomas Miller.
Liner Note Authors: Joe Clark ; Mark Hiebert.
Recording information: Studiochicago, Chicago, IL (03/20/2012/03/21/2012).
Lush marks the first big-band album under the leadership of composer, arranger, and trumpeter Joe Clark. The band achieves a delicate balance, paying homage to the traditional big-band sound of the '40s while moving the music forward via Clark's modern arrangements. In order to achieve that balance, Clark assembled a versatile band that features Grammy-winning drummer Jeff Hamilton, who is also music director of the renowned modern big band Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. The eight tracks include takes on the Thelonious Monk composition "Well, You Needn't," the standards "Tenderly" and "Yesterday's Gardenias," Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," Jeff Hamilton's "Samba de Martelo, and three original compositions from Clark. ~ Al Campbell