Blues and big band lovers are in for a swingin' treat with Big Round Records' new archival recording of BERL OLSWANGER AND THE OLSWANGER BEAT, the label’s third released recording by “Mr. Music of Memphis." Olswanger, whose musical career spanned over a half-century, could easily be called a jack-of-all-trades: a popular bandleader, a prolific composer of swing music, a serial entrepreneur, and a wildly successful teacher bringing the art of music-making to the masses.
As a composer, Joseph T. Spaniola has written works for band, chamber ensembles, orchestra, solo instruments, voice, choir, and electronic tape. That astonishing versatility is on full display on ESCAPADE, his first release with Big Round Records. ESCAPADE opens with its title track, performed by The US Air Force Academy Band, which launches into an unrestrained musical exploration inspired by the composition’s first four pitches.
When thinking of versatile instrumental setups, the brass quintet might not be the first thing that comes to mind. A grave oversight, according to Alias Brass Company, an all-American brass ensemble which aims to change any such preconceived notions with their vibrant renditions of highly diverse and inclusive music on PRISM from Big Round Records.
The versatility in terms of style, mood, and genre is absolutely stunning, whether it's a film soundtrack (Gabriel's Oboe, Over the Rainbow), an obelisk of Baroque music (J.S. Bach's Little Fugue in G Minor), a Christian hymn (Amazing Grace) or a blues standard (St. James Infirmary), the Alias Brass Company navigates the territory with mesmerizing panache. Audacious and bold!