Thursday, February 3, 2011

Andy Farber: This Could Be the Start of Something Big

Black Warrior Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: This Could Be the Start of Something Big

I knew I'd like this album before the first 16 bars of the opening melodic line were completed. This is big band jazz the way it used to be, performed by a group of musicians who grew up in households where that genre was the standard. 

At just over 40 years old, Andy Farber's first instrument was a clarinet, but he switched almost immediately to tenor sax. His father played drums, and their musical library favored the likes of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and other (then) modernists. 

Farber has performed with artists such as Randy Brecker, the Marsalis brothers and others, and was a member of the Jon Hendricks Explosion. Farber composes and arranges, and has numerous films and shows to his credit.

The group featured here is a big band in every sense of the word: Seven reeds, four trumpets, four trombones, a standard rhythm section  including a vibraphone  and a Jon Hendricks vocal group were involved. The 14 tracks include originals by Farber and classic jazz standards, beginning with Pete Johnson's "Roll 'em Pete" and gems such as "Body and Soul," "Broadway," "The 52nd Street Theme," "Jack the Bellboy," "Seems Like Old Times," "The Man I Love" and others. 

The arrangements are excellent, as are the musicians, and everything swings wonderfully.

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