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Fast Track

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 13, 2007
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 13, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Jazzed Media
  • ASIN: B000MEWOY4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,899 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By John Tapscott on March 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
In his liner notes to Jack Cortner's debut big band CD "Fast Track", Doug Ramsey invites the listener to "meet Jack Corter, one of the best band arrangers you've never heard." After hearing this scintillating CD, I am tempted to remove the designation "one of." One thing for sure is that after hearing this CD by Jack Cortner's New York Big Band (which is totally unrelated to John Fedchock's New York Big Band), you'll be wanting to hear more.

Jack Cortner has been active on the New York music scene since the mid- 60's as a trumpeter but mostly as a Broadway composer/orchestrator/arranger. On the New York scene Cortner developed close musical relationships with top musicians, many of whom are in the band he assembled for the CD's three sessions recorded in 2004, 2005, and 2006. One of Cortner's tightest musical relationships is with the top-tier trumpeter/fluegelhornist Marvin Stamm who is the principal soloist throughout the CD. The other first-rate soloists on the CD are pianist Bill Mays, trombonist Jim Pugh and saxophonist Dave Tofani.

Cortner's broad musical experience has served him well. He seems to have been gathering and storing up a great deal of musical know-how over the years and it all comes forth on "Fast Track". You cannot hear this CD without thinking, "this guy has some serious jazz arranging chops." Cortner's arranging style certainly reflects his love for the Woody Herman Herd. This influence is obvious on the opening track "Who's `at Talkin," which swings hard and lifts the listener's spirits immediately. The shout chorus really roars! The superbly recorded rhythm section (Mays, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer John Riley) is in a hard swinging pocket on this track and throughout the CD.
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Format: MP3 Music
This is a great CD with great charts and really great playing. To be sure, there's nothing particularly innovative here. The reviewer who says this album is up there with Ellington, Holman, and the other names is overstaing it by a lot. This CD isn't going to become a classic, but the writing is a cut above the rest. Besides being clean and professional, it's exciting and never loses your interest. The playing is outstanding. This is just a good hot jazz CD.
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Format: Audio CD
Let me start this review by saying that anyone who thought big band jazz was dead or in decline is sadly mistaken and this recording is proof that big band is still a thriving form of jazz music.

"Fast Track" by arranger/composer Jack Cortner is one of the finest big band records I've heard in a long time. I mean this album is right up there with the best of Ellington, Kenton, Herman, Holman, Brookmeyer, and Schneider. I've already listened to it 10 times straight, from start to finish.

The arrangements are outstanding, I think what impressed me the most were the caliber of players who played on here, check out this lineup:

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
Soloists-
Marvin Stamm, trumpet & flugelhorn
Dave Tofani, alto & tenor
Jim Pugh, trombone
Bill Mays, piano
John Riley, drums

Through this album, I was introduced to trumpeter Marvin Stamm, whom has played with everybody from Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Duke Pearson Big Band, and the list goes on. Stamm possess such a mellow trumpet tone and his chops are very impressive. He simply soars over the top of this big band with grace. Incredible player.

If you enjoy big band jazz, than you'll really dig this one. Big band is an aquired taste, but once you stop judging and start listening, you'll soon realize like I have, that big band is one of the greatest ways to hear jazz. Highly recommended.
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