The University of North Texas has been running a big band jazz program since the late 40’s, when the genre was in its heyday, and if this recording is anything to go by then it is showing no sign yet of slowing down. Apparently the rehearsals rooms are booked and busy by the hour, with the band assembled at 1:00 being seen as the cream. I grew up listening to this style of jazz, and to me it revolves around the drums and the brass soloists, and then the arrangements. Here we have everything that one could desire, and this certainly doesn’t sound like a university band, but one that has been cutting its chops on the circuit for many years.
It swings, it drives, and right from the opening few bars one knows that here is a big band who are going to hit all the highlights. The drummer is powering around like a modern-day Gene Krupa, the brass is blasting away, yet they also have plenty of finesse and style. Different musicians take the opportunity to lead the band, with solos that are fluid, moving from sax through trumpet and trombone. Probably the highest praise I can give is that I know if my 79 year old dad heard this he would love it, as he got me into this style of music the best part of 50 years ago, and this is just his style. Wonderful, it is as if the Golden Age was still here.