Had my son's Colorado HS Jazz band comp last night and after all the other high schools were done we were treated to a freebie concert by the USAFA Falconnaires big band .... and I was blown away.
These are not Air Force Academy students, but long time pro jazz musicians who've signed up for a stint in the band; they're all enlisted active duty. Definitely not uncommon to see a 45 yr old E-6 as a result of only being in AF bands!
They plugged their free FLAC on CD Baby: https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/usafabf
Here's my breakdown of the CD Baby cut:
- Jimmy McHugh classic 'I feel a song coming on': They open with trumpets-in-your-face at a quick pace with nice vocals from previous vocalist Chrissy Saalborn. You can wake up the house with this version.
- Freddie Hubbard's 'Little Sunflower': A tight rendition and great trumpet work. Love this version.
- 'Deixa Falar': An original from the previous drummer Henrique de Almeida. Got yelled at for playing this too loud.
- South Pacific's 'Bali Hai': Great vocal work. The mix on this one is very well done. Instantly reminded me of my Mom telling me to "keep quiet" during the vocals the first time I saw this play.
- 'Yesterday's Tomorrow': An orginal fusion piece from their current alto and previous tenor sax. Some talented chops here.
- Eden Ahbez/Nat King Cole's 'Nature Boy': Probably Chrissy's best vocal piece on this album. This arrangement calls for a martini at 1am; however, I was not ready for the big band onslaught around 2m10s in.
- Cole Porter's 'What is this thing called love?': Fast paced opening from the horns, great breakdown at 2m50s and into a nice piano set, then just great jazz.
- Wayne Shorter's 'This is for Albert': Great sax work throughout. A classic arrangement.
- 'Collateral Duty Blues': An orginal from the previous alto sax, Ryan Janus. A show piece set for all the band members. Great stand up bass solo - missing a bit of the bottom end, but very, very clean. Nice trombone work.
- 'Sharing the Freedom': Another original from alto sax Ryan Janus. Nice bass and tenor sax solos here and this is also a great big band set for all the members.
After the show, met with their current vocalist Krista Joyce (her version and arrangement of 'Feelin Good' was outstanding; unfortunately, not on this "Sharing the Freedom" press) and new drummer Tim Stombaugh (my kiddo is our HS jazz drummer) and they couldn't have been cooler to talk music and gear with. Tim plays on a neo-vintage kit from Japan known as Canopus; had such a classic, tight, early 60's jazz sound.
I live about 10 mins from the AFA here in Co. Springs, so yeah, hometown plug for an under-the-radar big band that always delivers.