The jazz big band tradition remains niche, but continues to evolve. Drummer Ralph Peterson’s Gen-Next Big Band’s double album Listen Up!, released on the Onyx label, gives small-group modern jazz orchestral weight. Great arrangements, fresh solos and Berklee college students playing like seasoned pros.
Trumpeter Brian Lynch’s literature-inspired The Omni-American Book Club, released on Hollistic MusicWorks fuels dynamic shifts and layers of brass with Latin jazz and the occasional foray into modern jazz swing. Tracks are substantial, solos meaty and the ensemble supple and tight. The experienced Lynch is an engaging soloist with a neat balance of thoughtful lines and climactic highs; heavyweight guests include violinist Regina Carter, flautist Orlando “Maraca” Valle and Donald Harrison on alto sax.