Raoul Romero and his Jazz Stars Orchestra

Americatone International- USA , AMT-20051

Raoul Romero - soprano sax and composer; Bobby Shew, Buddy Childers, Rocky Lombardo, Carl Saunders, Bill Hunt - trumpet and flugelhorn; Carl Fontana, trombone; Jerry Pinter, Rod Adams, Rick Davis, Joe Farrell - tenor sax; Bobby Feuer, Ron Feuer, Arnie Teich ñ piano; Alex Domschott, guitar; Frank De La Rosa, Bill Plavan, bass; Santo Savino, drums.

Tunes: Originals of Raoul Romero: Journey, Conversation with Ric, Baile Indio, Moon Trip, Tristesse, Fly-by-Night; Dick Albert wrote Study in Blues; and Herb Phillips wrote A Little ëTrane.

This recording had me cleaning my apartment and washing my curtains with the big band Latin grooves! Raoul Romero's music has a lot of energy. He comes out of the Las Vegas show scene, having spent eight years playing in the Sands Hotel Copa Room orchestra. Romero has also had a range of experience playing in other orchestras as well- including Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman.

Raoul Romero composes complex and interesting pieces of music. He puts his best foot forward on the first number, "Journey," which lasts for almost fourteen minutes. The intro catches your ear with an eight-bar lead-in, as the music slowly builds up. The head is very well-orchestrated and has a nice free sense of motion. I love the way the saxophone wails over the second chorus, while the band continues to play underneath. Following this is a beautiful interlude with the full band, then the pianist, Bobby Feuer, kicks into a solo. He develops his ideas first with the rhythm section, gradually going into a crescendo with the band playing background.

Latin, Jazz and Broadway have all influenced this composer, and some of the music on Romero's CD sounds like it would work very well as a film score. In each of the numbers, a change in tone makes one think visually. The musicianship is superb and the players listen to each other, using dynamics and timing to add to the strength of the compositions. There is a sense of freedom when one is listening to Raoul Romeroís music.

By Lucy Galliher

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