In celebration of the new Big Round Records website launch, we’ve compiled a highlight reel of past and present works from the label. From full-on big band orchestrations to jazz combos and contemporary works that smash the walls of genre with groundbreaking new music, it goes to show that with Big Round, there is no box.
A popular standard from the 1930’s, this arrangement of Beautiful Love is completely improvised and performed in one take. The piece starts with a subdued intro before kicking into a hard-bop feel full of tastefully intense comping amidst grin-inducing solos from pianist Paul English, bassist Brennan Nase, and saxophonist Dave Liebman, who trades with drummer Mike Drake before introducing the melody.
GIRL IN GREEN
New from Big Round Records comes jazz composer and pianist Paul English’s GIRL IN GREEN. The album features never-before-heard renditions of immortal classics as well as English’s original works. Listen as English and his cadre of masterful soloists carve a place for themselves in jazz history.
50 Ways to Leave your Lover
Originally written by Paul Simon, this arrangement from drummer Steve Gadd — who played on the original 1975 recording — soothes with equal helpings of pocket groove and tasteful solos. With over 30 GRAMMY Awards shared between the members on this record, a memorable listening experience is practically guaranteed.
A Bissel Rhythm
Voted one of the best jazz albums of 2019, the titular track of Paul Green’s A BISSEL RHYTHM derives from the famous Gershwin standard I’ve Got Rhythm, which contains chord changes that jazz giants from Sonny Rollins to Miles Davis have played over. In this recording, Green finds common ground between Jazz and Jewish music, using the misheberach and ahava raba scales, placing it in a minor klezmer sounding key, and giving it a joyful, freilach fast tempo.
“My hope is that both Jazz and Jewish music share the common ground of ‘expression.’ The mechanics and structure of the two genres are very different, but weaving one into the other can produce some striking contrasts and juxtapositions.”
Complete with driving drum grooves and explosive solos, composer and saxophonist Jordan VanHemert’s Arirang sets a distinct Korean melody in a jazz setting, expressing the composer’s Korean-American identity. The arrangement closes with the saxophone and piano interpreting the melody of 아리랑 Arirang in a much simpler harmonization based on the idea of 한 (Han), a deep emotion of longing.
“To be able to express my heritage in a way that is so deeply personal to who I am, using the saxophone and composition as the means by which to express this, is very special to me.”
A hard bop romp beginning with guest soloist David Halliday on an open ended unaccompanied tenor sax solo, Sumo Mix by Henry Wolking delivers a wide gamut of big band characteristics. From contemporary jazz idioms contributing to exciting build ups to grandiose climactic moments and a half-time burlesque feel giving way to a fiery drum solo, this performance by the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra is sure to satisfy.
Its evident from hearing the jazz big band works of composer, arranger, conductor and trombonist Henry Wolking’s debut album on Big Round Records, IN SEA, that he effectively mixes complexity with simplicity in his jazz harmonies and colorful orchestrations that make for an exciting and memorable listening experience.
Black Magic Woman
Gruca White Ensemble
Originally written by Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green and popularized by guitarist Carlos Santana, The Gruca White Ensemble effortlessly captures the tone and feel of the originals while simultaneously injecting their own distinguished sound in the mix. Gruca White’s take uses bass flute which imitates the quality of male vocals and complements the blues rock characteristics of this popular tune.
“I hope the album conveys our versatility as musicians as well as gives the listeners a sense of wonder about the different musical inspiration in the world.”
“There are pieces representing all sorts of musical styles and music from all around the world. It’s wonderful to embrace different musical cultures and explore. I like the Big Round motto of ‘there is no box.”
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