Album Remarks & Appraisals:
It's 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. Performed by the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra (SLCJO) and conducted by Wolking, the works on this album represent Wolking's clear direction of fusing together a number of different styles, from classical and rock to Latin and swing. Pieces such as the title track In Sea, and Sumo Mix, honor and pay tribute to iconic jazz composers and musicians of the past, including Bob Brookmeyer and Thad Jones, influential to Wolking's compositional style. Claude Debussy's impressionistic approach becomes a foundational element in some of these works, which Wolking interprets deftly with jazz harmonies and syncopated rhythms in pieces such as Jimbo's Lullaby, A Piece of Cake, and Claire De Lune. Along with his original compositions, Wolking includes arrangements of works by David Halliday, Lew Pollack, and others, illustrating how he orchestrates with the ensemble in mind, using the textures and variety of voices of the big band to create engaging grooves and captivating sections of improvisation. Many of these works go beyond the straight-ahead jazz form, incorporating shifts in mood and tempo, and introducing new ideas and conversations among the instruments seamlessly. Wolking's work is praised by American Record Guide: "His kaleidoscopic music is rewarding listening experience. This attractive and skillfully composed piece seems to mix quite easily in the classical and jazz idioms" Wolking's music has been performed and recorded internationally by many groups including the Warsaw Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, and the BBC Jazz Orchestra Two of Wolking's works for string ensemble, Gone Playin' and The Old Gypsy are available on the Navona Records release CROSS CONNECTION (2013) For the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City, Wolking composed the theme music for the International Sports Broadcasting network Originally called the Floor/Crismon Big Band (later The JAM Band), the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra was given its current name in 2004 by Mayor Rocky Anderson and TV host Larry King at a significant event, the Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival SLCJO has backed many entertainers such as Seth MacFarlane, Doc Severinsen, and Johnny Mathis, and also has hosted guest performers like Phil Woods, Eddie Daniels, Nancy Wilson, Clark Terry, and dozens more
Personnel: Kevin Johansen (guitar); Brian Booth (flute, tenor saxophone); Jerry Floor (clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Greg Floor (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); David Hall (alto saxophone); Scott Harris, David Halliday (tenor saxophone); Keith Parietti (baritone saxophone); Steve Mansfield, Reed Lecheminant, Keith Davis, Evan Bateman, Scott Acton (trumpet, flugelhorn); Kris Johnson (trumpet); Brian Keegan, Neil Hendriksen, Kevin Stout, Bill Tole (trombone); Donn Schaefer (bass trombone); Kurt Reeder (piano, keyboards); Jay Lawrence (vibraphone, drums); Denson Angulo (acoustic bass, electric bass).
Audio Mixer: Andy Happel.
Liner Note Author: Henry Wolking.
Recording information: Metcom Studios, Salt Lake City, UT (08/21/2015-08/22/2015).
Director: Jeff LeRoy.
Editor: Andy Happel.