Sunday Morning, what better time for New Yorkers to attend The Blue Note, one of New York's favorite jazz temples? The Pete McGuinness Orchestra gave a rousing performance over steak and eggs and bloody marys. The show was in celebration of their new jazz album, “Strength in Numbers”, released recently by Summit Records.
This band of veteran players got off to an energetic start which lasted through the whole set. The music, written and arranged by McGuiness, reached through the whole ensemble to feature several of the accomplished musicians. “Trixie's Little Girl”, a softer piece written by McGuinness for his mother, featured a great trombone solo by the bandleader himself. The ensemble kept the energy going with a tight sax section and ringing dissonances.
An arrangement of Michael Legrande's “What are you Doing for the Rest of your Life” found the saxes switching off on flute and bass clarinet. With the trombones picking up velvet-tone mutes, the whole tone of the ensemble changed. The ensemble transformed through this jazz waltz, showing its softer side. How wonderful to see flute and clarinet pulled into jazz arrangements. Orchestra is truly an important word in their title, showing McGuiness's ability to score for any instrument.
“Beautiful Dreamer” was originally arranged by McGuinness for a show on old American song. David Brandon played a lovely solo on soprano sax. Pianist Michael Holober, playing the part of the dream, came out of his supporting role to play a mystic and entrancing solo. Toward the end of the show, Bruce Eidem showed off his skills as a plunger artist with a truly monstrous trombone solo.
Overall, the show was entertaining, energetic, and a perfect way to spend a spring afternoon. Hopefully, Pete McGuinness and his crew will come back to the Blue Note soon to entertain another New York audience.