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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


New Horizons

Sea Breeze SBJ 2138



1. New Horizons
2. Swing Open
3. Without You
4. Bottom End Shuffle
5. A Problem with the Sun
6. Pan-Fried Doodles
7. Goodnight Story
8. No Harm No Foul
9. America the Beautiful
Ryan Haines – Tenor and bass trombones
Lucas Munce, Andy Axelrad – Alto sax and flute
Tedd Baker, Dave Stump – Tenor sax and flute
Doug Morgan – Baritone sax and flute
Brian MacDonald, Kevin Burns, Rich Sigler, Tim Leahey – Trumpet and flugelhorn
Jeff Martin, Ben Patterson – Tenor trombone
Todd Hanson – Bass trombone
Jim Roberts – Guitar
Tony Nalker - Piano
Paul Henry – Bass
Steve Fidyk – Drums

Ryan Haines is a new name to me and, I suspect to most of our readers, but this is only his second album. His first, To the Sky, was released five years ago on the same label, but this CD was recorded with a new band made up from musicians living around Washington DC – most of whose names will also be unfamiliar.

Ryan Haines is a powerful trombonist and he features himself on seven of the nine tracks. He’s undoubtedly a fine soloist, able to negotiate the trombone with ease at fast tempos and capable of lyricism in such ballads as Goodnight Story. Haines also wrote all but one of the tunes – the exception being the closing America the Beautiful, which certainly packs a punch (and the opening bars sound remarkably like the "Black Adder" television theme!). In fact most tracks exhibit a powerhouse approach to big-band arranging.

I would question the album’s title, as the band hardly explores new horizons. Instead, Ryan Haines is content to follow traditional methods of arranging for big bands. For example, nearly every solo is accompanied by section figures which sometimes get in the way of the soloist. So there’s nothing wrong with this album – and the recorded sound is exemplary – but there’s nothing very cutting-edge about it either.

Tony Augarde

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