SOUTH FLORIDA JAZZ ORCHESTRA — The Music of Gary Lindsay: Are We Still Dreaming (review)

SOUTH FLORIDA JAZZ ORCHESTRA — The Music of Gary Lindsay: Are We Still Dreaming album cover Album · 2018 · Big Band Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
js
I don’t know if a lot of people think of Florida as a hot bed for current big band activity, but with Micah Bethea having just released another excellent album in the Jacksonville area, followed quickly by this set out of the Miami area by The South Florida Jazz Orchestra, its starting to look like Florida could become known for more than just alligators, mosquitoes and shirtless guys with mullets. The truth is, Miami has had a very active jazz scene for a long time now, and has contributed many major players to the jazz world. One such local star is saxophonist Gary Lindsay, who arranged all of the music on “The Music of Gary Lindsay: Are We Still Dreaming”, hence the CD title of course, and Gary also composed several of the numbers as well. The big band assembled here is top notch with many in-demand New York and Miami session musicians taking up the chairs.

The music on here strikes an interesting variety. Three cuts utilize vocalists; Nicole Yarling’s “Easy Living” hit’s a slinky groove that‘s perfect for the lyrics, and Julia Dollison’s wordless vocals add much to the ethereal Lindsay original, “Are We Still Dreaming”. Julia also sings a high energy medley of two standards as well. Other covers include fairly straight ahead readings of “Round Midnight” and Pat Metheny’s “Better Days Ahead”, plus a far more creative rendition of Strayhorn’s “Upper Manhattan Medical Group”, titled “UMGG” on here. The best tracks though, are the Lindsay originals, such as the aforementioned “…Dreaming”, and the classically influenced “Toward Hope”. These two in particular allow Lindsay to portray how he uses the various voices in the band to intertwine melodies in infinite kaleidoscope variations. “The Music of Gary Linday: Are We Still Dreaming” is a worthwhile listen for anyone interested in contemporary big band music, or jazz in general, there is plenty of room for soloists in these arrangements.
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