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January/February 2002

DiMartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra
Off the Charts
Sea Breeze

There isn't one boring measure on Off the Charts (Sea Breeze SB-2108; 77:06) by the Dimartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra, but I have to admit to skepticism after reading the label's release, which began, "Roaring out of Kentucky like a tempestuous Appalachian storm...." Until I heard the band's debut for Sea Breeze, I thought the only thing that roared out of Kentucky was moonshiners on the lam. It's been a long time since I've heard such excitement and intensity. The whole band deserves all kinds of superlatives, but the focus has to be on the nucleus: trumpeter and flugelhornist Vince DiMartino; Miles Osland, heard on alto and soprano sax, clarinet, various flutes, piccolo; drummer Jason Tiemann, who propels the band in the Bellson/Rich tradition; and pianist Raleigh Dailey, not so much for his playing but for his arranging skills. He makes full use of the palette of doublings by most of the 20 players. Check the haunting intro and clever reharmonizations on "Spring Is Here," and the brash, shuffling makeover of Charles Mingus' line "Pussy Cat Dues." Check out the brilliant trumpet duel between Martino and one of his former students, Rob Parton. Finally, about that sonic exclamation point on "Niece Piece": did Tiemann borrow a kettledrum from the Louisville Orchestra?

Originally published in January/February 2002
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