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Denver & the Mile High Orchestra: Live! It Up

The phenomenal success of Denver Bierman’s Mile High Orchestra may be a well-kept secret in the secular world. This is CD number six from the band, which works over 100 days each year. That’s because it’s no secret in the world of Christian music. The MHO originated in 1999 at Nashville’s Belmont University. Reflecting the missionary zeal of its leader/singer/trumpeter/arranger Bierman, the 13-piece swing band has become a highly visual unit integrating jazz, pop and rock into its G-rated productions. Nothing wrong with good, clean jazz. But on this album, there’s no let-up in the college cheerleader/whip-’em-into-a-frenzy enthusiasm from beginning to end. Bierman’s voice dominates each track, as announcer, singer and sermonizer. He has a good voice, an even greater band and-bless his soul-he credits soloists. They deserve it: trombonist Ken Hughes, trumpeter Scott Steward, tenorist Jeffrey Scott Wills and altoist Chris Gregg converge for a roaring duel on “It Is Well.” There’s a driving Dixieland coda on “Never Gonna Say.” “Stand For You” has a lush sound, thanks to eight strings and background singers. Elsewhere, the ambient sound is relentless.

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