A Fresh Perspective
Review by Willard Manus

Got a hankering for some big-band jazz? A FRESH PERSPECTIVE will answer all your needs. Composer/arranger Ian Charleton has put together a 17-piece band which excels on the CD’s nine tunes, several of which have been written by the man himself. The latter also arranged all nine tunes, breathing life into such oldies as “Stardust,” “Blue Skies” and “Tea For Two.” On the latter, for example, he slows down the tempo in order to probe the tune’s wistful and melancholic qualities.

Charleton has also carefully chosen his sidemen. “It’s a matter of getting the best players one can while also making sure that the musicians have the right attitude, enthusiasm and work well together,” he said. Some of the soloists, such as horn-player Kerry Moffit, tenorman Keith Philbrick and pianist Bart Kuebler, are longtime associates; the others were invited because they met his approval.

All the members of his band have one thing in common: the ability to swing, especially on uptempo numbers like “West 67th Street,” “El Otono” and “When Sunny Gets Blue.” Charleton’s “fresh perspective” on the latter ballad has given it a rollicking, hip-shaking Latin feel. Dance to it at your favorite disco.

No big band would be a complete without a singer. In FRESH PERSPECTIVE’S case it’s Emily Charleton (the composer’s wife), who interprets “Everything I’ve Got” and “Blue Skies” in warm, skilfull fashion.

A FRESH PERSPECTIVE is aptly titled and precisely delivered.