One of world's finest musical minds, composer/arranger Patrick Williams has released a new album of original big band music. He probably is best known for his work on TV show themes including After Mash, The Bob Newhart Show, Mary Tyler Moore, Columbo, and The Streets of San Francisco, just to name a few. He won multiple Emmy and Grammy awards, and has been nominated multiple times over for those and other prestigious awards.
Besides movies and television, Patrick Williams writes really unique and original big band charts. One of my favorite albums of all time is Threshold, released in 1973. While I don't understand why it's listed twice in the iTunes store, who cares get it! It's only $5! Lots of great features for Tom Scott on tenor sax and flute and trumpeter Marvin Stamm.
Though he is in constant demand in Hollywood, he doesn't put out a big band album every year (like Gordon Goodwin, another one of my favorites). That is why his new release, Aurora, is such a big deal. I don't think I need to do a full review of it, other than to say I have been listening to it almost constantly for the past 24 hours. The pieces are more symphonic in nature, rather than your traditional big band formula. I mean, how often do you hear french horns in a jazz ensemble? He is certainly writing for the band he wants, to create the sound he wants, rather than charts to be published and sold to high school jazz ensembles. It also should be noted that this album was recorded "live to a two-track." There were no over dubs for parts or solos. And it only took two days, August 22nd and 23rd, which is why it was released less than a month after recording.
While I don't want to leave any of the great recording artists out, this being a woodwind focused blog, I should note the woodwind players filling out the section. That would of course be Tom Scott, Dan Higgins, Bob Sheppard, Jeff Driskill, and Gene Cipriano with special guests Hubert Laws, and Eddie Daniels.
Lucky for us, it's 2010, and information on the project is plentiful. Gio has put together a great page on his L.A. Studio Musicians site with tons of information and pictures (huge thanks!). There are also a couple of youtube videos out there, and of course music is now purchased online. So what are you waiting for, follow the links and get it!
Patrick Williams' "Aurora" (L.A. Studio Musicians tribute site)
Patrick Williams tribute page (L.A Studio Musicians tribute site)