Jazz CD Reviews
The H2 Big Band With Special Guest Bobby Shew – You’re It! – Jazzed Media
Published on July 12, 2011
The H2 Big Band With Special Guest Bobby Shew – You’re It! – Jazzed Media JM1053, 76:50 [Distr. by Allegro] ****:
The willingness of jazz musicians to launch big bands in today’s uncertain economic environment, following in the tradition of Woody Herman, Buddy Rich and Bill Holman, should be commended. Such is the case with the Denver based The H2 Big Band started by trumpeter Al Hood and pianist/composer/arranger Dave Hanson.
This debut CD is filled with eleven gems all arranged by Dave Hanson including seven original compositions. While these are predominately ensemble arrangements, there is a focus in the writing on five-piece trumpet section which included special guest trumpeter Bobby Shew. He not only added his bite to the section playing, but was also the trumpet lead on five tunes, as well as providing some sparking solos on several cuts. Other “ringers” included Glenn Kostur on baritone sax that provides the bottom to the reed section, as well as Mike Rodriguez and Jason Carder who are in the trumpet section.
This well-disciplined band offers some authoritative playing starting off with a Hanson composition “Blue Brews”; Glenn Kostur on baritone and Tom Bell on trombone takes center stage. The title track “You’re It!” gives Hood and Shew the opportunity to face off against each other with interesting results. There is much originality and adroit performances on each track but there are several that standout. On that well worn standard “Singing In The Rain” the alto sax of Rich Chiaraluce is given prominence. Bobby Shew and tenor Bob Rebholz show their chops on the Basie- inspired “BMG”. Hanson has written a very compelling chart for the Miles Davis classic “Blue In Green” on which Brad Goode channels Davis’ muted trumpet work, and tenor Peter Sommer indicates that he understands what it takes to remain in the game.
There is a lovely Spanish–flavored Gil Evans-inspired ballad entitled “Romanza” where Hood demonstrates his sensitive side. The piece de resistance of the disc is the Clifford Brown original “Joy Spring” where all the trumpeters whether in unison or individually tackle this difficult work. With abundant room to release their creative ideas, the tune clocks in at over thirteen minutes, and in fact may be too much of a good thing.
This is a very exciting big band recording, offering arrangements of both standards and originals that are done with flair and expertise.
TrackList: Blue Brews; You’re It!; Singing In The Rain; BMG; For Claus; Big Spender; Double Doubles; Blue In Green; Al’s Well; Romanza; Joy Spring
— Pierre Giroux