JazzTimes - 2/97, p.119
"...one of the best big bands of our time."
Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass: Rob McConnell (valve trombone); Arnie Chycoski, Steve McDade, John McLeod, Guido Basso, Kevin Turcotte (trumpet, flugelhorn); Alastair Kay, Bob Livingston, Jerry Johnston, Ernie Pattison (trombone); Gary Pattison, James McDonald (French horn); Moe Koffman, John Johnson, Alex Dean, Rick Wilkins, Bob Leonard (woodwinds); David Restivo (piano); Ed Bickert (guitar); Jim Vivian (bass); Ted Warren (drums).
EVEN CANADIANS GET THE BLUES was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance.
Personnel: Rob McConnell (trombone, valve trombone); Ed Bickert (guitar); John Johnson , Moe Koffman (flute, piccolo, clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Bob Leonard (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Alex Dean (flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Rick Wilkins (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Arnie Chycoski, John B. McLeod, Guido Basso, Steve McDade, Kevin Turcotte (trumpet, flugelhorn); Gary Pattison, James MacDonald (French horn); Ernie Pattison (trombone, bass trombone); Alastair Kay, Bob Livingston (trombone); Dave Restivo (piano); Ted Warren (drums).
Audio Mixer: Phil Edwards .
Recording information: Dome Audio & Video Productions, Toronto, Ontario, Canad (04/23/1996-04/24/1996).
Photographer: Don Vickery.
Unknown Contributor Role: Don Vickery.
Arrangers: Rick Wilkins; Rob McConnell; Ian McDougall.
Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass tackle a mostly blues-oriented program for these 1996 sessions, with five originals by the leader, in addition to tunes by others. "Even Canadians Get the Blues" is a lively shout-type tune in the mold of Woody Herman's big band showcasing trumpeter Steve McDade and tenor saxophonist Alex Dean. While "The Clarinet Is Black and Blue" isn't technically a blues, it has a bluesy air, with Moe Koffman's melancholy clarinet backed by the lush ensembles, which often include a choir of four additional clarinets. Boss Brass alum Ian McDougall contributed the breezy blues "Do You Mean It?," which puts the spotlight on pianist Dave Restivo, fl?gelhornist John McLeod, and alto saxophonist John Johnson. The upbeat "The Shuffle Boogie Swamp Groove Blue" adds guest Doug Riley on organ, while the date closes with a brief, lush rendition of the Canadian National Anthem, "O Canada." McConnell's liner notes are often amusing, as is his cover photo pose as a drunken Canadian Mountie passed out draped over a piano. ~ Ken Dryden