Glimmer of Night & Day is not the first CD by Texas Tech University’s Jazz Ensemble One under the direction of Alan Shinn. Their CD Seein' the Light...Hearin' the Hub-Tones, also on Sea Breeze records, received a Grammy nomination in 1998. Shinn, who recently turned the ensemble over to Brad Leali, teaches percussion at Texas Tech, is Principal Timpanist with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and has performed with artists like Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen, The Fifth Dimension, Tony Bennett, William Warfield, Mark O'Connor, Jose Feliciano, Mitzi Gaynor, Engelbert Humperdinck, Cathy Rigby in Peter Pan and Carol Channing in Hello Dolly. The jazz band featured on this disc has performed with artists such as Louie Bellson, Frank Mantooth, Denis DiBlasio, Phil Wilson, Bob Mintzer, Tuck and Patti and Ernie Watts. They have also opened shows for Spyro Gyra, the Yellowjackets and Jay Leno.
With this knowledge it’s obvious one would expect Glimmer to be a great disc by developing collegiate musicians, and it doesn’t disappoint. The major joy of the disc, however, is the addition of Austin, Texas professional woodwind player and singer Tony Campise. To be frank, Campise, who has worked with Stan Kenton, is a monster. His alto solo "Who Can I Turn To" is a burner from note one. His inexhaustible supply of furiously flying notes is reminiscent of Bobby Militello’s work with Dave Brubeck. It’s not just the alto on which Campise shines; his big bold tone is evident on every sax he plays. For example, On "Continental Divide" his tenor is thick and rich, on "Night and Day" his soprano is lyric yet full-bodied, on "Some Other Time" his baritone is a cross between the heavy sound of Bruce Johnstone and the lightness of Gerry Mulligan and his bass flute playing on "Range" is weighty even in the midst of its avant-garde moments. Most remarkable of all, however, is Campise’s vocalist abilities. His dark, husky, heavily-blues inflected style is raucous and perfect at the same time. His voice growls and swings equally well.
With abilities as stunning as Campise’s, it’s major work for the rest of the school’s musicians to even stand toe to toe with him. There are a few who are able to share the limelight and not be overshadowed. Pianist Eduardo Alcayaga turns in a nice piano solo on "Night and Day," Rocky Green’s solo on "Continental Divide" and "Stevie Played The Blues" has a soulfulness belying youth and Danny Sanchez’s feel for time on "Range" is inspiring. As an ensemble the band is tight and obviously well rehearsed. They move through dynamic variations cleanly, know when to give the spotlight to other sections and have a truly innate jazz feel, not one that was imposed upon them.
Lastly there is a problem with the disc’s sonics. "Glimmer" has a cavernous feel, "Range" is better but not at all like the in-your-face recording quality of other tunes like "Night and Day" and "Stevie Played The Blues." All in all a fine recording, but not one of the more consistently even discs Sea Breeze has released.