Arranger, composer, conductor, and alto saxophonist Ed Palermo (pictured left) has had quite a career. He has worked and toured with many artists including Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Lou Rawls, and The Spinners He has written and arranged for the Tonight Show as well as dancer Maurice Hines. Since 1997, he and his Big Band have been performing and recording music by Frank Zappa. Of the eight albums he has released over the past two decades, only two not have music by the late Zappa. One more splits the program between Zappa and Todd Rundgren. He has won international praise not only for his inventive arrangements but also for exposing a larger audience to this music.
|Photo: Hugh Brennan|
Regarding the Palermo originals, they are all impressive. "Like Lee Morgan" celebrates the fine trumpeter from the 50s and 60s – this time, trumpeter Bailey gets to step out for the fine solo. Tap dancer Nicki Denner joins the EPBB for a spirited dance on "The One With The Balloon", an evocative melody that also makes room for a solo from trombonist Gordon and a touch of accordion from Kooshian. Soprano saxophonist Cliff Lyons is featured throughout the sweet ballad-waltz "Affinity" though the brass and then the reeds get to play the handsome melody as well.
"A Lousy Day In Harlem" is Ed Palermo's satirical title take on the famous 1958 Art Kane photograph – click here – that featured nearly five dozen jazz greats and some neighborhood kids sitting on those very steps. But the music from the Ed Palermo Big Band is no laughing matter unless you're laughing at such delightful and audacious music. Put the disc on play, turn the volume up loud, and watch the party start!
For more information, go to www.palermobigband.com.
CLIFF LYONS - alto sax, clarinet, soprano sax on “Affinity”
PHIL CHESTER - alto sax, soprano sax, flute, piccolo
BILL STRAUB - tenor sax, clarinet, flute
BEN KONO - tenor sax, flute, oboe
BARBARA CIFELLI - baritone sax, bass clarinet, Eb mutant clarinet
RONNIE BUTTACAVOLI (lead)
CHARLEY GORDON (lead)
MATT INGMAN (bass trombone)
all arrangements by ED PALERMO (who also plays alto sax on several tracks)
Here's the Ellington/Tizol mix:
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, composer, conductor, and arranger Jaelem Bhate has been making a name for himself in both the jazz and classical spheres. He's now the assistant conductor of the Vancouver Philharmonic after spending 2018 as assistant conductor of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada under Maestro Boris Brott. His classical training includes work in New York City and Oregon plus Bhate just completed his Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting at the University of British Columbia. He also leads the Last Call Jazz Collective and has composed works for a large ensemble. Judging by the amount of work he has taken on, the young man seems comfortable with his feet in both musical worlds.
The other pieces on the album each have standout moments. Guitarist Halabi gets to strut his stiff on "Strung Along" as the band digs into the blues-rock feel. "Wishful Thinking" has a delightful alto sax solo (unidentified) and impressive sectional writing. The lovely mix of reeds and brass usher in the sweet ballad "When I Was Loved", a song that also features an emotional trumpet melody and it's that trumpeter (possibly Michael Kim) who leads the way through the piece. One can hear the influence of Thad Jones on this piece.
From the exciting title track that opens the album to the uptempo lullaby "You Will Be Ok" that closes it, "On The Edge" is an impressive statement from a young composer who is just beginning to find his voice. That written, this debut recording from Jaelem Bhate illustrates his strengths as a composer and his excellent arrangements for the reeds and brass. For more information, go to www.jaelembhate.ca.
Brent Mah, Mo Miao, Steve Kaldestad, Ardeshir Pourkeramati, Adam Kyle: saxophones
Michael Kim, Jocelyn Waugh, Daniel Hersog, Silas Friesen: trumpets
Kevin Jackson, Cam Henderson, Sean Lavigne, Sharman King, Louis Lam: trombones
Andrew MacDonald: piano
Ricardo Halabi: guitar
Jacques Forest: bass
Duran Ritz: drums
Jaelem Bhate: compositions
Here's one of the fine pieces on the album: