What a treat to be entertained by SBCC’s 19 piece big band! Each of these fine musicians is a seasoned performer and they all get together each week on Mondays just to get their musical kicks. Under the fine direction on Andrew Martinez, the band showed us what they were made of in a concert at SOhO this month. Using charts from some of the best arrangers in the business, they played their collective hearts out to a grateful audience. 
There were so many beautiful tunes, mostly standards, and so many fine soloists that I can’t name them all, but here are a few of the highlights.  We heard a gorgeous alto sax solo from Lito Hernandez In Quintessence, arraigned by Sammy Nestico and a fabulous tenor solo by leader, Andrew Martinez in Stella by Starlight, with a surprise ending. There was a great full band sound in Basie’s arrangement of I Thought About You with Bhakti Ulery soloing on his tenor sax. And on a cool arrangement of Ellington’s Take the A Train, we heard Eric Heidner’s trombone and a screeching trumpet by Mike Muench with a Freddy Green like guitar solo from Bill Redman. There was some gorgeous “bone harmony” on John Coltrane’s Central Park West  with a lovely tenor sax solo by Mathew Krepky.
It was a nice change of pace to hear the quartet play a couple tunes namely,  Jobim’s Quiet Nights and Have You Met Miss Jones. They have a great sound with some super solos by pianist, George Friedenthal, guitarist Bill Redman, bassist Randy Tico, and Matt Perko on drums.
The full band came back with a vengeance and trumpeter, Lee Neuenschwander, had a chance to solo on Eye of the Hurricane, a blues progression tune by Herbie Hancock made unrecognizable. The band saved a real barn burner for last with the sax section being featured on wild arrangement of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Like I’ve said before, “We have a lot of talent in our little city!”

Photos by Mark McDonald

SBCC Monday Madness Orchestra Sept 2019

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