The Great American Songbook is alive and well in Indianapolis, Indiania. In 2008, The Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra released Where or When (Owl Studios), a dazzling tribute to some of the beautiful songs that have been the hallmark of American jazz.
One is first impressed with the flowing arrangements and orchestration by Brent Wallarab (arranger, conductor and trombonist). The music flows as light as air in a romantic stew of just the right amount of vocals (Everett Greene and Cynthia Layne) versus instrumental lead melodies throughout. From the rollicking moments in "Avalon" to the romantic pull of "My Funny Valentine," there is something for everyone in this CD.
According to the Owl Studio's press release dated January 27, 2009, "the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra includes many of the top freelance jazz artists in the Midwest." Equally impressive is the resume of the players that includes appearances with the likes of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the Artie Shaw Orchestra, Natalie Cole, Maynard Ferguson and others. They also quote the late J.J. Johnson as calling the orchestra, "A marvelous new band with exceptional soloists and some of the most creative and satisfying writing I've heard in a long time."
After listening to Where or When, I'd have to agree wholeheartedly that this band is top-notch. The CD is rock solid and reminiscent of the magic that romanced the hearts of listeners back in the big band years of jazz history.