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Live! Rich Wetzels Groovin Higher Jazz Orchestra by Rich Wetzel's Groovin Higher Jazz Orchestra

Best big band CD I have heard in ages!

This CD has a depth of sound and a true live gig quality while delivering the intensity that guys like Wayne Bergeron and Rich Wetzel are well known for. Recording a live gig is never perfect, but this comes pretty close, stunning sound and intense. The band is definitely on, and the energy is contagious.

Wayne and Rich are both known as great lead trumpet players, and feature players, with lots of energy. You can definitely tell they and the audience were having some fun on this night with the band really cooking under their leadership and a notably fine rhythm section. I particularly note Aaron Hennings, the solid drummer, and Mike Slivka, on auxiliary percussion, as well as a fine piano player, Cynthia Hughen with laying down some great stuff,

specially on the latin numbers.

Also, some great section playing by the trombones, specifically the opening of Polka Dots And Moonbeams. That is as well as I have ever heard that opening played by any trombone section, very nice. The tune features Cliff Colon on alto sax, let the world know, this guy if for real, very interesting ideas. The tenor work of Kareem Kandi should be noted as well.

Other notable solos from Jim Stevens on Bon Homme Richard, a wonderful piece that Stan Kenton used to feature Dick Shearer on, and Jim nails it. Mason Hargrove on guitar, very nice.

The conclusion of the CD has strong solos turned in from various musicians in the band, and one of the best high note, high intensity trumpet trading sessions I have heard in years. Wayne Bergeron, Rich Wetzel, and Greg Lyons are swinging hard, and playing lines dancing around g's to d's above double high c, and nailing it, while swinging... The bantor between these three on Cruisin For A Bluesin and the last number, Malaguena alone is worth buying the CD.

I have not often enough heard a live CD with this quality of recording, and real sense of being there, at the gig. Very good sound, and a hard swinging band. If you like high intensity big band jazz, screaming trumpets, latin rhythms, and swinging jazz, this is a CD to check out. I can highly recommend that you buy the CD and see this band live whenever you can.

Outstanding CD!!! A very exciting and powerful CD!!!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rich Wetzel's Groovin Higher Jazz Orchestra
  • CD Title: Live! Rich Wetzels Groovin Higher Jazz Orchestra
  • Genre: Big Band / Swing
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Tracks: La Virgen de la Macarena, Mac Arthur Park, Polka Dots And Moonbeams, St Louis Blues, Bon Homme Richard, Tell Your Story, Cruisin For A Bluesin, Malaguena
  • Musicians: Rich Wetzel - Trumpet and Band Leader, Wayne Bergeron - Special Guest Trumpet, Greg Lyons, Randy Heyd, Kevin England, Parrish Sellers, Ken Peters - Trumpets, Eric Stevens, Jamie Paulson, Melissa Paulson, Jim Stevens - Trombones, Cliff Colon, Chris Olson, Kareem Kandi, Terry Ward, Brooke Farnsworth - Saxes, Aaron Hennings - Drums, Mike Slivka - Percussion, Cynthia Hughen - Piano, Dave Shriver - Bass, Mason Hargrove - Guitar
  • Rating: Five Stars
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