Saxophones; Kenny Hamilton, lead alto; Brian Hogans, alto; Brian VanArsdale, tenor; Brendan Romaneck, tenor; Rodney Hampton, baritone. Trumpets; Jason Lichau, lead; Dave Champagne, Max Matzen, Ray Callender, Abel Castillo. Trombones; Clarence Hines, split lead; Robert Harrover, split lead; John Leschitz, T.J. Collazo, bass; Marcus McGill. Rhythm; Heston Dean, piano; Steve Lesche, guitar; Billy Thornton, bass; John Davis, drums.
Fast moving, innovative and tight, are first thoughts as the UNF kick off with "Pentangle"; a piece centred on the pentatonic scale, which allows Brian Hogan on alto sax to open up with a fine improvisation. This award winning outfit show clearly why they are so highly acclaimed; "The Beginning And The End" is thoughtful section playing of the highest caliber; three very impressive solos from Dave Champagne on flugelhorn, Brian Hogans on alto sax and Brian VanArsdale on tenor sax, who also wrote the piece. Apart from an excellent arrangement of "Tenderly", with Dave Champagne soloing on trumpet, this is the nearest we get to easy listening. This is carefully arranged, intelligent Jazz playing that will need several spins to fully appreciate it. "A Child Is Born" offers fine reflective playing from Heston Dean on piano and the flugelhorn of Max Matzen; the set is taken home with a bravado flourish in "Machito".
There is serious management behind this college band, disciplined, confident, its ensemble work is firm and melodic; twisting with finesse through light and shade, then opening out magnificently when required. They possess a high level of individual musicianship that will always impress; a hard working ensemble that cares; and it shows.
by Ferdinand Maylin
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