- All Blues
- I Didnít Know What Time it Was
- Along Came Betty
- Blue in Green
- San Francisco Holiday
- I Got Lost in His Arms
- Why Do I love You
- This is New
- Sail Away
- Iíll Be Seeing You
- Whatever Possessed Me
Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz - Bass &
Janis Siegel - Vocals
Alan Pasqua - B3 Hammond
Bob Sheppard - Saxophone
Larry Koonse - Guitar
Peter Erskine - Drums.
This is certainly my kind
of record. Instead of filling their album
with original compositions, never to be heard
again, bass player Darek Oleszkiewicz selected
mostly standards from the great jazz standard
composers. One original Expectation was used,
but it fits in well with the scheme of the
record; contemporary composer Tom Harrell
also had a composition Sail Away included
and again it fits in nicely.
The overall feel of the band
lets you know that they like to play together
and each is a star in his own right. I am
always afraid when I see that a Hammond Organ
is on the gig that it will be used as a weapon
instead of a musical instrument. Not so here
Alan Pasqua plays the B3 in a very intelligent
way so that is perfect both in accompaniment
and when soloing. Bob Sheppardís tenor and
soprano sax playing has an individual sound
and style, I found it very appealing. Larry
Koonse is without doubt one of the outstanding
guitar players on todayís scene and his contribution
to the album is significant. Drummer Peter
Erskine has been around long enough to understand
that his role in supporting the soloists is
paramount if the band is to have a really
good sound. Darek's playing puts him up with
the greatest of bass players; he has a great
sound, immaculate timing and he is a very
talented improviser on an instrument which
demands exceptional technical skill. Janis
Sigel, a superb vocalist, completes the line
up and makes a significant contribution to
this exceptional album.
From the first track you
know you are in for a treat, these guys are
as contemporary as tomorrow but they swing
like mad. My main criticism of most contemporary
jazz is that it just does not swing, jazz
without swing is no use to anyone and may
not be jazz at all! Peter Erskine drives things
on superbly throughout the album, without
ever getting in the way of any of the soloists
by playing with excessive volume. Bob Sheppard
plays a wistful Soprano sax on this track.
Janis is to the fore with
a version of I Didnít Know What Time it Was,
which is different, but very appealing.
Along Came Betty, a Benny
Golsen tune, is taken in 5/4 time and again
the group stay with the original melody, but
give the tune a different feel.
Blue in Green comes from
the Davis-Evans stable and again the group
make it sound good with a completely different
feel to the Miles original.
Darek's original Expectation
uses Janisís voice as an instrument to state
Thelonoius Monkís San Francisco
Holiday is a hugely successful track, it features
Bob and Larry to great effect, but as with
everything on this album it is the ensemble
that is the winner.
Janis contributes a fine
version of I Got Lost in his Arms, taken as
a gentle bossa. It was great to hear the rarely
played verse of this Irving Berlin classic.
Why Do I Love You starts
out in traditional style and tempo and demonstrates
to perfection the art of improvisation on
a well known standard, which leaves it feeling
as fresh as a daisy.
Bob plays the theme statement
on This is Knew and follows it with a solo
full of conviction and invention. Tom Harrellís
Sail Away follows, unusually it is the bass
of Darek that states the theme, followed by
Larry Koonse, the empathy between the two
and for that matter the whole of the group
Iíll Be Seeing You has a
theme statement played first By Alan and then
by Larry, it has all the gentle improvisation
that a classic tune such as this requires.
Tad Dameronís Whatever Possessed
Me brings Janis back to the fore and she delivers
a song, that is not one of the easiest to
sing, perfectly backed by some very musical
chord work from Larry.
The package includes a DVD
of the recording of songs 2,4,9 & 12.
In conversation the musicians explain the
philosophy of the session, I found it fascinating.
This album , which was recorded
this year, has made me feel much more optimistic
about the future of our great music. I recommend
it without any reservation.