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Joe McCarthy Big Band: Upwards

What an awesome band this is. After plying their trade in the Washington, DC area for many years and the release of their last album titled Angel Eyes, the Joe McCarthy Big Band headed for New York City. It is there they created their latest opus Upwards. The band is composed of eighteen players led by Joe McCarthy on drums. If you are into swinging jazz sounds Upwards will be a mandatory listen. The musicianship is fantastic and the melodies are just as relevant. The players are able to create incredible chemistry going from moments of extreme gusto to more serene and finesse imbued sound designs. It really makes listening to this album a real treat for the ears.

The first track “Upwards” begins with a spirited piano intro before the entire band brings on the heat. The horns and fat bass sound along with McCarthy’s great drumming is about as tasty as big band music gets. The ensuing saxophone solo soars to delicious highs, as the song title suggests and then the band gets into a slower and more sultry groove. It’s these transitions that make this band so special. The next track “J Ben Jazz” is finesse and gusto in equal measure. A Latin flair fills the air, especially from McCarthy’s stick work and the horns carry a superb melody. A more gentle soundscape develops as Boris Kozlov lays down an impeccable bass solo. The music transitions into lone guitar chords and slowly instruments are added, eventually regaining the song’s original form. With “Caravan” a Latin infused drum intro between McCarthy and Samuel Torres on the hand drums simply needs to be heard. The alto and tenor sax solos are amazing as well. Another scintillating track that is just a little mysterious and exotic. This music has so many layers and so much complexity, yet so melodic as well. It really is a joy to behold.

Wonderful, mesmerizing, creative - you name it, this band’s got it…in spades.

A ZOHO Music release.

Track Listing:
1. Upwards (7:31)
2. J Ben Jazz (8:51)
3. Caravan (10:20)
4. Five For Elvin (9:54)
5. Nostalgia In Time (8:20)
6. Isabelita (10:37)
7. Afternoon In Paris (6:44)
8. Positano (7:59)

Added: January 20th 2020
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 871
Language: english

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