There is a great, new big band in town put together under the leadership of multi-talented Trumpet player, Kenny Lavender. He has built a 17 piece band using some of the finest players on the New York scene. Kenny produced and arranged the 11 songs on this double CD and composed 8 of the songs. The sounds from this band are "hip", and, yet the ties to the great big bands of the past are very visible. As I listened to the cuts, the sounds evoked memories of the great Maynard Ferguson band, Woody Herman and Jack Sheldon bands. The sounds are crisp, new and, yet, comfortably familiar all at the same time. The arrangements are superb! This CD is a wonderful showcase for not only Kenny Lavender but also for the sparkling solos from the major league supporting musicians.
Lavender named the CD "Conscious Journey" because the songs he wrote reflect the different stages of life he has traveled, "from falling in love with my wife to dealing with addiction and a lot in between". Because the solos on the album are so remarkably good, I listed the soloists for each song below. I thought you would want to know because I did.
Those of us who love the big band sound will be delighted to listen to this CD. We don't get too many opportunities to hear new big bands these days, and if you only listen to one this year, this is the one to get.
"Conscious Journey Part I"
1. "Velocity": Solos by Nathan Childers and Kenny Lavender
2. "As I Close My Eyes": Solos by Rick Germanson and Scott Wendholt
3. "Beauty In A Kiss": Solo Kenny Lavender
4. "Down In NOLA": Solos Kurt Bacher and Alan Ferber
5. "9th Ave Song": Solos Jason Rigby and Rick Germanson
6. "Flow Through Me": Solos Phil Palombi and Kurt Bacher
"Conscious Journey Part II"
1. "Caravan": Solos Kenny Lavender and Alejandro Aviles
2. "I Could Write A Book": Solos Kenny Lavender
3. "Happiness": Solos Rick Germanson and Kenny Lavender
4. "Clark's Bark": Solo Kenny Lavender
5. "Una Mas": Solos Kenny Lavender and Jason Rigby
I have attached 5 minute YouTube video previewing the songs from this CD.