There are so many commendable big band recordings available at this time that, when reviewing them you start to run out of language to articulate their merits and occasional de-merits. Not everything I hear can be recommended. I tend not to review albums that I have difficulty in recommending unless there is, what I see as totally misleading publicity, flooding the arena.
The Trinity Big Band poses no problems at all. Bobby Lamb, a Professor at London's Trinity College School Of Music is notorious for his enthusiasm, his love of Stan Kenton and his skill, and for developing young musicians into important musical talent. Mark Nightingale was there for three years, I believe Gerard Precenser was also a student.
The seven movements from the notorious Johnny Richards' CUBAN FIRE SUITE are played with extraordinary power. The musicianship is of the highest standard. The three major soloists are the aforementioned Mark Nightingale and Gerard Presencer. In addition we have Pete King on alto. Mark is in a dangerous mood, his attack is reminiscent of Frank Rosolino, Gerard plays with passion and fire complimenting the world class improvisational skills of Pete King.
I am in awe of the impact of this world class ensemble. An augmented big band with an added eight piece percussion ensemble and a quintet of brilliant french horn players must be thrilling to hear live. Each section has at least two added members. Rather than causing problems this enhances the power of the orchestra and, where a less skillful group might become ponderous with so many players, this juggernaut moves relentlessly forward all the time. In a perfect world this should be an award winning album. If you must call this a tribute album to Stan Kenton, then I have not heard better. I see it more as a tribute to the Trinity Big band and Bobby Lamb.
This album is not scheduled to be available in any stores.