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Album Review

The follow-up to a particularly successful debut album, No Bounds brings more of what could potentially be referred to as "contemporary" big band. Big band as a major force disappeared decades ago, and those playing now are almost entirely nostalgia-based groups playing the old standards. Chris Walden is one of a very few that has adapted the genre to fit some more contemporary ideas, and takes new directions with the large-scale format. Here, there's a mix of old and new pieces, some updated thoroughly, some hearkening back to the powerful ensembles of the '70s, and some arranged back toward a vocal standard form (with Tierney Sutton providing some nice vocal work). The album opens with a jazz version of David Foster's theme for the 2006 Winter Olympics, and moves to a relaxed rendition of "When You Wish Upon a Star," the first of three Disney-related songs to appear on the album. The title track is a textural one, followed by a bit of nostalgic vocal standard. The sound shifts to a more post-bop feel, touches upon Disney again for a Miles Davis-inspired rendition of "Someday My Prince Will Come," and after an almost orchestral score, finishes on a modern and somewhat twisted rendition of "It's a Small World." The sound is a little less adventurous on this album than it was on the first, but it's still a highly refreshing take on the big-band idiom. Fine solos are provided throughout, though the way the band works together is perhaps a better indicator of the abilities showcased here. Fine playing, and even finer compositions lead this to be one of the better (and perhaps even one of the best) jazz releases of the year.

No Bounds, The Chris Walden Big Band
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 18 July 2006

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