Thursday, April 28, 2016

Electric Squeezebox Orchestra: Cheap Rent

OA2 Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Cheap Rent

This big band jazz orchestra, native to San Francisco, often is known as ESO by Bay Area fans. 

The ensemble is quite large: Twenty-four musicians are identified, although the grouping for each chart is limited to 17 artists. ESO fields six trumpets, five trombones, six reeds, and six in the rhythm section, including a guitar. Trumpeter Erik Jekabson is identified as the leader.

Three of these 10 charts are by familiar artists: Wayne Shorter’s “ESP,” Mel Torm√©’s “Chataigne Grilles” and Herbie Hancock’s “People Music.” The rest are written and arranged by band members. The menu covers several genres: 1970s grooves, New Orleans strut, bop, swing, funk and more. Everything swings nicely and is performed smoothly.

Each chart allows plenty of space for solos, and these artists don’t disappoint. Northern California jazz fans love this group, which has a regular gig every Sunday evening at Doc’s Lab, in the North Beach neighborhood. Don’t miss them, next time travel takes you to San Francisco.

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