Vince Mendoza & Temple University Studio Orchestra
Award-winning multi-discipline arranger/producer/composer Vince Mendoza was here commissioned to create a new work for the Temple University Studio Orchestra as part of a week-long residency. The man that has worked with almost every name in pop and jazz created this three-track, EP-length album-suite for trumpeter Terell Stafford and alt-saxophonist Dick Oatts. They play the shit out of these charts of course.
Here he and Stafford take turns taking the lead over the swell of the orchestra. Lush arrangements abound.
Bebop Elation is the opener and has a fine swing to it; cinematic jazz that is widescreen and big-band in all its glory.
Solace and Inspiration is the album centerpiece though. A beautiful piece of balladry that wafts out over eight and a half minutes. Feeling like Michel Legrand at his finest.
Love, A Beautiful Force is the third and final piece here and is the most ‘orchestral’ of these works. At times the feel and sound of the Max Roach Orchestras of the 80s and 90s is on display. It’s powerhouse playing across the board, but with a subtlety and charm – which is Mendoza’s doing as much as it’s the work of any of the individual players here.
Big band jazz is of course alive and well and thriving – you just have to know where to look.
This is a very good place to park up and enjoy the view.
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