The Ira B. Liss Big Band Jazz Machine: Tasty Tunes (2018)

Written by: Kev Rowland

Ira formed his Big Band in 1979, and here they are back with their fifth album. This mixture of originals and standards shows just what can be done by a Big Band that really swings, and I found myself being taken back to my youth when my dad used to play music like in the car (on 8-track!). I could see us sitting and listening to this together if we weren’t at opposite sides of the planet, as I know that this is just wat he likes to. Apart from the production, I find it somewhat hard to realise that music as good and powerful as this is being released in 2018 as it sounds as if it should have been from 60 or 70 years ago, such is the quality.

Yellowjackets saxophonist and composer Bob Mintzer is a standout guest on this, but all those that have been employed by Liss add their own style to proceedings, whether it is with sultry vocals, alto sax or flute. One of the joys of this is the way that each song is treated quite differently, and the arrangement of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” is certainly not one that I have come across before this (the emotion in the trumpet is palpable). Liss is in demand as a producer, arranger and musician with other bands, which I presume is why it has taken so long to release just five albums, but it’s not all about quantity. This is sheer quality that fans of old time big band jazz definitely need to secure.

Rating: 8/10


Track list:
1. You Don’t Know What Love Is
2. Early Autumn
3. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
4. When the Lady Dances
5. Oleo
6. Nature Boy
7. Manhattan Burn
8. Over the Rainbow
9. Mountain Dance
10. Ya Turn Me on Baby
11. Recon



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