The Flying Horse Big Band returns with their 6th studio album. The students of the University of Central Florida are back, this time with a collaboration between the Big Band and the UCF Studio Orchestra. Titled, “Good News!” the album features the high-energy, skillful playing that listeners have come to expect from the ensemble. The full sound and captivating energy that the band produces take listeners back to the days of classic jazz and always makes for a good time.
For “Good News!” the Flying Horse Big Band is focusing on the works of Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Bob Mintzer. The Flying Horse Big Band is directed by Jeff Rupert.
There are nine songs on the recording. Two of the tracks are versions of “Imagine” – – one is a radio mix and the other an extended version. Two songs that listeners who are relatively new to the music of The Flying Horse Big Band should definitely check out are “Serpent’s Tooth” and “Imagine (radio mix).”
“Serpent’s Tooth” by The Flying Horse Big Band
“Serpent’s Tooth” is The Flying Horse Big Band’s version of the 1956 Miles Davis song. The pace is quick, set by clacking drums, that are soon joined by swaying and punchy horns. The horn showcase that happens early on is a nice touch. It allows listeners to hear the horn motif still carried out behind it in the soundscape. The song features a total of three horn showcases, a baritone saxophone and two trombones standout with warm tones.
All of the classic jazz elements are here: a nimble bass, whose chords are rhythmic and pleasant, not overbearing or clumsy; drums that exist somewhere between shimmering and clacking, but rhythmically perfect either way, and the horns of all kinds blast with pure energy that recalls the days of swing dancing and evoke the feeling of moving with abandon.
“Imagine (radio mix)” by The Flying Horse Big Band
Whether a person agrees with all of the original sentiments or not, the haunting piano melody of John Lennon’s “Imagine” has a tendency to stick with a listener.
The Flying Horse Big Band does mix things up a bit. Admittedly, I was expecting an instrumental. That is not what happens here. Instead, a male vocalist does a mix of spoken word performance and singing. When speaking he encourages listeners to go after their dreams and when he sings the lines of the chorus, his tone is warm and full. The soundscape is piano-rich and complements the singer’s voice.
The overall message of peace and unity is not lost. The lush tones and essential beauty of the piece makes this version of the song a stellar, but not unexpected track from The Flying Horse Big Band.
With “Good News!” The Flying Horse Big Band puts their spin on classics, while still giving new and veteran listeners exactly the quality of music they were hoping for.
“Good News!” will be available Aug. 16, 2019.