Review: Swingin’ New Big Band

I will never pretend to be a Jazz enthusiast, my mind generally wonders else where in music. But every now and again I like to appreciate this genre of music by listening to some of the greats. One of my recent choices has been the brilliant Buddy Rich.

Swingin’ New Big Band is a fantastic live album released by the legendary drummer Buddy Rich. His band at the time features many great musicians like Gene Quill, Pete Yellin and Carson Smith amongst many others. Each member puts on one hell of a show and matches their legendary band leader in style and talent.

This album which was originally released in 1966, an interesting time to be putting out a big band album. Much like the swinging rock n roll of the ’60s, this has a lot of energy and still sounds quite fantastic by today’s standards. This is down to the amazingly high quality musicianship as well as the fact it was generally well recorded. The 1996 release of this album expands the record with nine extra tracks, all of which are worth the extra bit of dosh.

I personally could of done without the West Side Story Medley. It is superbly played and I won’t falter the performance, this is world class stuff after all. I personally think that it felt a little out of place with the rest of the record, specifically the track Somewhere. But as I said above, this is down to personal preference not a bad performance.

A drummer like myself could go on for hours about the amazing ability of Buddy Rich. He shows that talent off in many parts of this album. In fact I would recommend this album to every drummer out there. The way the man plays his kit is nothing short of outstanding. But what I liked most about this is that despite his well known ego, Buddy Rich takes the back seat and lets his band mates shine. Everyone gets their time in the spotlight and it provides some nice variety in the music. It doesn’t matter whether its the drums, saxophone, piano or guitar. You get to hear these talents up front and it is an absolute delight.

Serious fans of jazz and Buddy Rich himself might have a different opinion on this album. But as far as this casual fan goes, I think this is a superb record that I greatly enjoy listening to. Considering how cheap this record goes for on Amazon (see the link below), I couldn’t recommend it more for any musician who considers themselves open minded and take their instrument seriously.

Rating : 9 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Ready Mix
  2. Basically Blues
  3. Critic's Choice
  4. My Man's Gone Now
  5. Uptight
  6. Sister Sade
  7. More Soul
  8. West Side Story Medley (Overture, Cool, Something's Coming, Somewhere)
  9. What'd I Say
  10. Hoe Down
  11. Step Right Up
  12. Apples (Gino)
  13. Chicago
  14. In A Mellow Tone
  15. Never Will I Marry
  16. Lament For Lester
  17. Naptown Blues