The Jack Cortner New York Big Band's debut CD is filled with complex yet easily accessible arrangements played by many of New York City's best jazz musicians. Leader Jack Cortner is joined by special guest trumpet soloist Marvin Stamm, and the band features other jazz soloists including Jim Pugh, Dave Tofani, Bill Mays, and John Riley.
Trumpets- Bob Millikan, Brian O'Flaherty, Danny Cahn, Tony Kadleck, Bud Burridge,
Trombones- Jim Pugh, Tony Studd, Birch Johnson, Bruce Bonvissuto,
Bass Trombone- Paul Faulise
Saxophones-Lawrence Feldman, Jerry Dodgion, Dave Tofani,
Dennis Anderson, Kenny Berger, Ronnie Cuber,
Guitar- Jeff Mironov
Piano- Bill Mays
Bass- Jay Anderson, Martin Wind
Drums- John Riley
Marvin Stamm, trumpet & flugelhorn
Dave Tofani, alto & tenor
Jim Pugh, trombone
Bill Mays, piano
John Riley, drums
Jack Cortner and Marvin Stamm met at Jim & Andy's. They've been meeting ever since, but Fast Track is their first big band collaboration on CD.
While he increased his success as a versatile commercial composer and arranger, Cortner's love for jazz never waned and his skill at writing jazz charts expanded. In great part, that was because of his close musical and personal relationship with Stamm. Stamm is the principal soloist, with major solo contributions by Dave Tofani, Jim Pugh, Bill Mays and John Riley. The band of New York first-call session heroes Cortner brought together to play this music interpreted it the way Stamm feels it.
Cortner's story about recording "Lover Man" indicates their level of professionalism. The arrangement is one of Cortner's oldest charts for Stamm, but it was new to this band.
"We played it at the end of the first session. Our audio engineer, Artie Friedman, had the good sense to record the rundown. The band was sight-reading the arrangement, but the performance of Bill and Marvin was so good, we wanted it on the album just as it was."
Just as it was. Perfect.
Meet Jack Cortner, one of the best big band arrangers you've never heard. Until now.
Doug Ramsey is the author Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond (Parkside Publications).
He blogs about jazz and other matters at www.artsjournal.com/rifftides