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November 2006

The Chris Walden Big Band
No Bounds
Origin Records

Although he ended up losing to Dave Holland and Gordon Goodwin, respectively, the German-born composer-arranger Chris Walden was recently nominated for Grammy Awards for best large jazz ensemble album and best instrumental arrangement. No Bounds is the follow-up to Home of My Heart, the album that brought him such acclaim. A compositional virtuoso has also scored dozens of films and provided charts for numerous performers in pop music as well as in jazz, he brings his vast experience to bear on the present recording.

While the up-tempo “When You Wish Upon a Star” serves as a straightahead vehicle for Kim Richmond’s dancing alto, “Crax’s Theme,” a poignant feature for Till Brönner’s intimate trumpet musings, with its harp, French horns and strings, suggests a modern-day film noir score. “In the Doghouse” programmatically evokes a husband-wife spat while allowing for swinging solos by Walden on flugelhorn, Jeff Driskill on alto and Alan Steinberger on piano.

The band comprises the usual L.A. big guns, with folks like trumpeters Wayne Bergeron and Carl Saunders, tenorist Brandon Fields, and trombonists Bob McChesney, Andy Martin and Alex Iles. Tierney Sutton’s lovely voice graces “People Will Say We’re in Love” and “Smile,” both arranged especially for her.

Originally published in November 2006
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