JOHN BURNETT SWING ORCHESTRA West of State Street/East of Harlem Delmark DE 584
Randy Sandke, Terry Connell, Mike McGrath, Greg Duncan, Tony Pons – tpt, Bryant Scott, Adam Gross, Dana Legg, Bill Walsh – tbn, Bob Frankich, Nick Mazarella – as, Doug Stone, Anthony Bruno – ts, Bruce Mack – bari, Mark Burnell – pno, John Moran – gtr, Paul Martin – bs, Bill Bryan – dms, Frieda Lee – vo (6, 8): Feb 10, 2008, Berwyn, IL.
Flight of the Foo Birds/Groovin’ Hard/How Sweet it Is/Randy Sandke intro/Night in Tunesia/Anytime. Anyday, Anywhere (sic?)/Struttin’ With Some Barbecue/Ten Cents a Dance/One O’Clock Jump/Hello Dolly/Little Jazz Boogie/Witchcraft/How Long Has This Been Going On/Sweet Georgia Brown/Begin the Beguine/April in Paris/Love For Sale: TT – 66:00.
A big band in its natural setting, Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, IL… sounds good on paper! What we have here is in the realm of “New Testament” Basie… even some of the same arrangers/composers (Hefti, Nestico, Menza). You get the picture. Tasteful music with even a rhythm guitar, this is good music without a heavy back-beat – just not music that grabs this listener. There is no stretching here and many high school bands do just as well (even here in Oz!) in performance. Everyone acquits themselves OK, but nobody stands out from the pack. Name guest Sandke brings trumpet fireworks (a la James Morrison hereabouts) to play, but there is nothing new here. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But I like my big bands less beige and comfortable than this! Over an hour of good, not great, big band music – luke-warm recommendation from me, but big band nuts may be satisfied.
Peter B. Lowry
IAJRC JOURNAL; v.42, n.1 – March 2009; p. 84