Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our First Set - John MacLeod and his Rex Hotel Orchestra

Still looking for a great Christmas gift? How about the first CD by this stellar group of musicians - the finest in Toronto, in Canada and yes anywhere.

If you've ever been down to the Rex on the last Monday of the month for the 9:30 show you already know what a great big band this is...and here is recorded proof. John is known not only for his great trumpet and flugelhorn work but is an outstanding composer and arranger to boot. But being a modest soul, he would not describe himself with any of those accolades - that's for his admirers like me to "toot his horn" - among his credentials are being part of the famed Boss Brass, after all.

Filled with charming descriptions and anecdotes about each tune it features arrangements of standards and originals - opening with two of his own - "The Great Danes" and swinging into "B.S. Blues", plus one of my favourite arrangments the delightful "Monkey on the Roof" composed by pianist and fellow Humber instructor Gord Sheard.  Did I mention the band is filled with established and up and coming talent - check out this list: Al Kay, Terry Promane, David Braid, Brian O'Kane, Jon Challoner,  John Johnson, Perry White, Ted Warren, Jim Vivian....oh and Colin Murray - my brother (yes, shameless promotion). Special guest on the album and longtime friend and collaborator of John's - one of my favourite saxophonists and a great guy - Mike Murley.

The "album" photo - a beautiful sensitive shot was also taken by Al Kay - yes, trombonist Al Kay.

I see one of our former "Jazzology" guests, Rosanne Howell, assisted on the recording at Humber as well - great studio over there of which they can be justifiably proud.

John also gives much credit to Joni DeAngelis as Executive Producer - she along with her husband and flautist/saxophonist/clarinetist Bob have been longtime friends with John since their Humber days. It's always great to hear of those supportive, enduring relationships.

I am told that the first CD sale was to someone in New Orleans - a Jazz FM listener - who obviously has great taste!

So, Buy Canadian and hey if you keep it for yourself I won't tell.
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