If I ask you to picture a big band, chances are you close your eyes and see Bono or Chris Martin or Donald Fagen (just me?). Give that first word a little more, though, lean on that "big" and you get a whole different thing. You get more musicians than you can count on two hands, troupes a la Ellington, Basie and Calloway. Believe or not, there was a time when that style of music was cool, a time when not all genre pop songs sounded homogenous, a time when the soundtrack to the club was live. Those times may be long gone, but big bands persisted through the post-bop epoch, popping up a few times a year to remind us that their kind is still breathing.
I've owned a handful of big band records -namely by artists whose work I had already appreciated, operating in a new medium- but I'm far from an authority. I was surprised, then, to find an email with the subject line "New Prog-Rock Big-Band Album" in my inbox. I honestly wasn't sure to make of it, ...
Also read: Slip Away: The Other Mark Murphy