Thursday, July 2, 2009

Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra: Where or When

Owl Studios
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 7.2.09
Buy CD: Where or When

Mark Buselli and Brent Wallarab are excellent musicians — trumpet/flugelhorn and trombone, respectively — composers and arrangers, and respected educators.

Buselli is head of jazz studies at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and was voted teacher of the year at Butler University's Music School for the 2004/05 season. Wallarab teaches at Indiana University's Jacob School of Music and is the lead trombonist with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

Together, they formed a 17-piece ensemble in 1994. The band used for this album, a smaller version of that group, consists of two trumpets, a trombone, a bass trombone, a French horn, three saxes and a rhythm section (piano, bass and drums).

Buselli and Wallarab are huge fans of the music from the big band era, and all the tunes on this album are standards from that period. Because the lyrics from these songs were such a key part of their popularity, 11 of the 13 tracks feature vocalists Everett Greene and Cynthia Lane.

Greene is particularly good; his voice and style echo greats such as Joe Williams, Herb Jeffries and Billy Eckstein, and he adds significantly to the atmosphere of this release.

If you came of age back in the day, or appreciate the music from that period, you'll totally enjoy this album.

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