Mssrs. Busselli and Wallerab and their immaculate band have been reviewed in these pages before (here and here), and it's always a pleasure to see new work coming from the aggregate. Add in the fact that the gents are eternally recruiting guys like Rob Dixon (winds, sax) and world-class clarinetist Frank Glover (winds, sax, and most definitely including that glorious licorice stick) among myriad other top-flight musicians for excursions back to a time when big band music was in its prime—Ellington, Miller, Hampton, Evans, Ellis, etc.—and you have a formula for an unbeatable experience in blending the old and the new.
The sheer bravado of sterling discipline in every cut on each CD the ensemble and its constituents have ever released attests to an almost scientific thoroughness: iron-clad adherence to the formulary while innovating in depth and subtlety. Thus we have a suite (and suh-weeet!)foursome of Wallerab compositions, successively titled Suite Storytelling, opening Mezzanine, then an intermission in Cole Porter as the intro to a reversion to yet more hoary chestnuts (Suite Influence), and finally a Freddie Hubbard outro. All hang together as though Wallerab wrote the entire cycle, and when you hear his interpretation of Miller's Moonlight Serenade, you'll believe this in every word, syllable, and letter.
Mark Buselli heads up the trumpet / flugelhorn section, actually the core of this of this 17-man combo, the motive force above the rhythm section propelling everything, and his solo in Cherokee" is pristine, a little Fergusonesque, a bit Milesy, but really all his when push comes to shove. Then Dixon takes over, jumping from that platform into his own wailing take letting into Luke Gillespie's whirlwind piano. As with the entire disc's presentation, no one gloryhogs but every delicious skirling solo is a treat within a pleasure within a delight. Again, one can't help but anticipate the very best from this group, and one is never disappointed in any degree of that expectation.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles