Album Review: Straight No Chaser Big Band – Navigation
From the first track, Cabs and Kings, a reference to Cab Calloway and King Oliver, it’s obvious that you’re listening to the arrangements of someone who appreciates the rich history of big band music.
The second track, Solid Ground, begins with just the baritone sax (played by Chris Peryagh) and uses the rhythm section to create the feeling that this isn’t just a big band with a big band sound – this is an ensemble that can play a multitude of textures, styles, colours.
For those who love big bands and know the stylistic traits of the great big band arrangers, each track will remind you of a particular composer. However, these tunes go beyond the simple pastiche by taking twists and turns and enjoyable surprises.
What’s amazing about this album is that all of these tunes were composed by one individual: Simon D’souza. And there are lots of D’souza trademarks: humour, slick arrangements, tight ensemble playing and warm, energetic and engaging solos.
None of the tracks by Simon D’souza reveal the sadness that accompanies this album. That sadness is only revealed by the moving and beautiful Love Is Moving Our Hearts To Make Music, the final track on the album, composed by Jamie Todd.
The whole album takes you on a journey that incorporates a myriad of styles (both jazz styles and arranging styles) and treats the listener to a wealth of surprising twists and turns.
I give this album 10 compasses out of 10.
Jim Cheek, Ali Helsby, Alex Bondonno, Simon D’souza, Russ Holdsworth, Kate Fish, Chris Peryagh, saxophone section
Nick Trish, Jon Brown, Martijn van Galen, Bob Turner, Peter Bryan, trumpet section
Tim Wade, Paul Nieman, Dave Macari, Nick Brion, trombone section
Dave Beebee, piano
Sam Arts, guitar
Marianne Windham, bass
Noel Joyce, drums
- Cabs and Kings
- Solid Ground
- Giving Peace
- In Remission Riff
- Under The Influence
- Freedom Blues
- Worth Holding
- Love Is Moving Our Hearts To Make Music
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Also available to buy at SNC gigs.