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Project Omaha by Bill Wimmer

Omaha Nebraska resident and saxophonist Bill Wimmer has collaborated with Vail, CO., keyboardist/vocalist Tony Gulizia for years. And with prominent New York jazz stars, guitarist Dave Stryker and drummer Victor Lewis on-board, this live outing signifies a jubilant meeting between America's heartland and the East/West Coast contingent. Yet the artists share common ground since they're all originally from either Omaha or Lincoln, Nebraska. In turn, their collective exuberance yields the winning dividends on this multifaceted live outing recorded at a Vail restaurant.

It's jazz that matters: no frills or existential treatments here. Let the good times roll as they say, where the musicians stir the pot via zesty swing grooves, and percussionist Joey Gulizia's Latin pulses. However, the ensemble presents a diversified track mix, featuring Tony Gulizia's good-timey and unpretentious vocals on "I Thought About You," for example. And they morph fire and ice while upping the ante in spots via Stryker's lyrically-resplendent single note licks amid their finger-snapping spin on drumming legend Tony Williams' comp titled "Geo Rose."

They cover the Brazilian jazz-element, spiced with a few nicely articulated ebbs, flows and tempo changes while Wimmer's sensitive and at times, blustery sax choruses spawn a distinct edge to the grand schema. Then on saxophonist Tina Brook's "Gypsy Rose," Stryker's beautifully constructed solo rides atop the rhythm section's vibrant mid-tempo swing vamp. It's a thoroughly happening exposition by a unit that transmits a gleeful vibe within its seamless fusion of modern and mainstream jazz. Ultimately, the group-centric dynamic shines glowingly here.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bill Wimmer
  • CD Title: Project Omaha
  • Genre: Big Band / Swing
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Wim Jazz Records
  • Tracks: Soy Califa, I Thought About You, Rhyme Rhythm And Song, She Was Too Good To Me, Geo Rose, Dreamer/Felicidade, Gypsy Blue, Cherry Red, Carnaval
  • Musicians: Bill Wimmer – saxophone, Dave Stryker – guitar, Tony Gulizia – keyboards and vocals, Mark Luebbe – bass, Joey Gulizia – percussion, Victor Lewis – drums
  • Rating: Three Stars
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