This new recording once again features Pete's composing - arranging, along with some of his solo work on vocals and trombone. But it is equally about the band and it's many fine soloists who Pete has known and worked with for over 25 years.
A collective resume of the band members includes stints with such well-known band leaders as Maria Schneider, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Heath and countless other great big bands, Broadways shows and various NYC studio recording sessions. When they all get together, it is as much about "the hang" as it is about playing the music. Once the arrangements were written, McGuinness was indeed along for a great ride! He knew the many gifts of the band's various soloists, and how they can pull off even the trickiest of passages with style and energy. From the world of Broadway, Put On A Happy Face is one of those memorable tunes that have always stuck with Pete. Normally done in a straightforward light-hearted fashion, he presents it here with more of a twist, using bits and pieces of the song in a variety of ways (as a bass line, as counter melodies, etc.).
A good song can stand up to a lot of reinvention, and this one worked out well for that. You Must Believe In Spring is one of the many romantic masterpieces by Michel Legrand (who passed away earlier this year). Pete was first introduced to the song via the classic recording by Bill Evans and Tony Bennett, but arranged it here with a bit more lilt and swing. This arrangement focuses on his vocals The tempo rises on Point Of Departure, a bright samba featuring Rob Middleton of tenor sax, Bill Mobley on trumpet, and Pete on trombone. Jive Samba gets an arrangement with some mysterious turns... Who Cares turns into a lush/relaxed bossa nova... and the rest of the program gets the same incredible, unpredictable treatment... with incredible musicianship!
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