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Potpourri the Open Studios Sessions[CD]
~ Al Hamme
Music Unlimited was founded by Al Hamme in 1974 to provide musicians in the Binghamton, NY area with an outlet to play modern big band jazz and to create a personnel base or musician pool so that he could contract musicians for the various traveling shows that were beginning to appear in the Binghamton locale. In the last 28 years, Al has broadened the scope of this organization to include all facets of the music business. Music Unlimited now provides a number of different-sized bands that present jazz concerts, provide music for social functions and continue to back traveling artists. In addition, Music Unlimited also provides arranging and production services for recording projects, stage shows and industrial exhibitions. Al Hamme is a woodwind artist, clinician, conductor, arranger and composer. He has recorded with Slam Stewart, Phil Woods, Tom Harrell, Peter Appleyard, Richard Wyans, Bucky Pizzarelli, Tony Marino, Mike Holober, Sherrie Maricle, Ann Chamberlain, Steve Gilmore, Steve Brown, Tom Whaley, Bill Carter, Fred Hersh and Gene Bertoncini. Al contributed to Slam Stewart's final recording in 1987, 'The Cats Are Swingin', and Jacque Tara Washington's recording, 'Jazz Passions,' as a performer, arranger and producer as well as serving as co-producer and performer on Bill Carter's recent recordings: 'Faith in a New Key,' 'Dancing Day' and 'Fragile Incarnation.' Al founded, and for thirty-seven years was the director of, the Jazz Ensemble Program at Binghamton University. He retired from his faculty responsibilities in 1997. PoTPoURRI, The Open Studios Sessions; AL HAMME AND THE SWING STREET JAZZTET: features original compositions by Al Hamme, Steve Brown and Bob Glendon which are interspersed with new arrangements of jazz standards and vocal features for Jacque Tara Washington. The recording is a mix of old, new, cool, straight-ahead, swing and Latin styles. Opening with Steve Brown's straight-ahead Catch Phrase and Al's West-Coast-style That's Cool, the band quickly morphs into the jazz orchestra for the 18th-century-inspired suite, Going for Baroque. Morphing again to back up Jacque Tara Washington, the Jazztet becomes the perfect singer's band. They sizzle in Steve Brown's arrangement of Our Delight swing with Al's rendition of My Blue Heaven, careen down a mountain in Bob Glendon's, Funchal Sleigh Ride and ballroom dance with Deep Purple. And just in case you thought it was the last dance, the Jazztet heats up the air with Steve Brown's arrangements of Neal Hefti's Repetition and the smoking Willow Weep for Me. Al modestly refers to this collection as a 'potpourri'; the word hardly does justice to this wonderful recording, which unfolds like a masterfully orchestrated Grand Tour of Jazz.
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