Music director/trumpeter and pianist Sam Lussier provides his modus operandi on a per track basis within the CD insert text for this divergent set of arrangements of original works and jazz standards. And for the uninitiated, the Florida International University School of Music offers the gamut of educational curriculum, including a 600-seat concert hall. Otherwise, this big band sports an explosive sound and fluid mode of attack. They abide by a get up and go style of musicality via brisk charts and precision-oriented interplay. In effect, the album title offers a vivid depiction of the band’s multihued gait, where they tear it up and also temper the various pulses in spots.
On Horace Silver’s "Strollin," pianist Michael Gerber encircles the primary theme with darting melodies amid tapping 4/4 metrics and brash, horns-based choruses. The commissioned piece titled "Disney Medley," is designed with a fun-filled hook, nicely contrasted with a surging and fast-paced methodology. In other areas, the musicians morph Cu-bop motifs with lush balladry and torrid swing vamps. And they boisterously jazz up Louis Armstrong’s classic jazz/pop gem "What a Wonderful World," into a sinuously moving opus featuring Lussier’s hearty trumpet maneuvers.
Vocalist Carla Ramirez adds the appropriate colorations to the director’s Nelson Riddle type arrangement of "Guess Who I Saw Today?" Needless to state, this band generates chutzpah along the way. With Lussier’s clever arranging skills and the instrumentalists’ sympathetic approach to the material, this CD should enrich the collections of big band aficionados. At times, they convey the boldness of classic Stan Kenton, yet generate gobs of warmth and sentiment within numerous movements and passages. It’s a comprehensive program brought to you by the brain-trust of higher education. An appealing and persuasive amalgamation of impressive chops coupled with good cheer and a highly entertaining manifesto that presents the winning formula.