You can thank Mike Holober for filling this inexcusable void: the WJO was formed in 2003, but it wasn’t until Holober became artistic director in 2007 that the inevitable CD debut became reality. All those chosen for inclusion in the new release (talk about “All In”) speak the same language: contemporary, vibrant, “contributing to the evolution of jazz,” and they swing with erudition. Among the composers: Coltrane, Shorter, Evans, Silver.
Actually, two by Horace: a moment of Zen called “Peace” with Pete McGuinness’ reverential chart providing an ideal harmonic platform for trumpeter Marvin Stamm and bassist Harvie S; and “Room 608,” the quintessential bop line. Two by Holober: Coltrane’s “Naima,” featuring tenorists Jason Rigby and Mike Migliore; and George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.” “Imagine all the people” who thought Holober would never touch a Beatles tune. Bill Evans’ “Turn Out the Stars” is impressionistic, yet can swing when Mark Patterson’s chart calls for it. In a brilliant bit of whimsy, arranger Ken Berger deconstructs a Glenn Miller classic, calling it “(No Longer) In the Mood”: distorted pieces of the original 12-bar blues are stated with a perverse cubism that swings intensely.