Tony Corbiscello: Tony Corbiscello (drums); David Bixler (alto saxophone); John Zemba (baritone saxophone); Harvey Tibbs, Steve Bleifuss, Jim Perry (trombone); Jerry Bruno (double bass); Dave Stahl, Doug Lawrence, John Eckert, Patrick Rickman, Benny Aronov, Bruce Eidem, Matt Ingman, Danny Cahn, Alan Gauvin.
Personnel: Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar); Alan Gauvin (alto saxophone); Doug Lawrence (tenor saxophone); Dave Stahl, John Eckert, Patrick Rickman, Danny Cahn (trumpet); Bruce Eidem (trombone); Matt Ingman (bass trombone); Benny Aronov (piano).
Additional personnel: Bucky Pizzarelli.
Liner Note Author: Bill Lawrence.
Recording information: Nola Studios, New York, NY.
Illustrator: Clarence Butler.
Chosen as the orchestra to open at all the stops on Frank Sinatra's final tour, Tony Corbiscello's 16-piece big band pulls out the stops on a play list of 14 tunes. There are also three originals by Marion Evans who also did the arrangements that are not only tasteful but diverse; for example, they don't all sound the same. Stocked with players from the New York area and driven by leader Corbiscello's drums, this album is replete with well-drilled ensemble playing as well as refreshing and timely solos. The session is further enhanced by the presence of A-one guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli on "Lover," "Dream," "Around Town," and, especially, "But Not for Me" played jam session style. The latter track is one of the highlights of the session opening with Corbiscello's brushes playing behind the subtle piano of veteran Ben Aronov fading to the ensemble with Corbiscello's drums still hanging on. Pizzarelli comes in to take a couple of choruses followed by an unidentified trombone player. That's a major failing with this CD, the failure to identify those responsible for the excellent solo work. The band can play sweet without sounding maudlin as shown on "Dream," which opens with a trumpet with a mixture of Harry James and Charlie Spivak licks. "When the Sun Comes Out" borrows from Stan Kenton, including the trombone figures Kenton occasionally used to end his tunes. While Evans' arrangements are pleasant and varied, if not imaginative, his original material sounds somewhat dated, lacking vibrancy. The best of the bunch is "Bikini Bossa" featuring Aronov's piano. The barnburner on this set is, not surprisingly, the Richard Rodgers/Larry Hart classic "Lover" replete with the Maynard Ferguson-like screaming trumpet and Pizzarelli hot jazz guitar within a Les Brown-type arrangement. Ordinarily just providing a bit more than 40 minutes of music is a cause for complaint. In this case, more might have been overkill from this high-powered aggregation. In Full Swing is recommended. ~ Dave Nathan