Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dana Legg: The Other One

Sea Breeze Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 4.1.10
Buy CD: The Other One

You don't often find a big band that works steadily and successfully in this day and age; Dana Legg's Stage Band is an exception.

This group plays in — and around — the Chicago area for festivals, weddings, college events and dances. The basic group employs 19 musicians, but this album derives from two studio sessions; the total contributing cadre numbers almost three dozen artists. About half the tracks were recorded in 2002, and the rest were done in '07.

The five-year delay illustrates this group's popularity: Everybody was too busy to finish the album all at once.

Actually, this group is more accurately a dance band than a stage ensemble. Half the tracks are covers of standards that were enjoyed years ago; the rest are original compositions. All are danceable.

Most important, the musical quality is great, and the solo work excellent. And yes, everything swings nicely.

A glance at the photos included in the liner notes suggests the reason: The musicians are mature and obviously experienced, yet still young enough to enjoy what they're doing.

The fact that an organization this large remains fiscally viable is a credit to the group's quality and Legg's acumen, both as a musician and a businessman.

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