The brightest new jazz orchestra in Southern California, the Elliot Deutsch Big Band, makes its recording debut on Weeknight Music. Led by 26-year old arranger-trumpeter Deutsch, the 17-piece orchestra was formed in 2007 while he was still in college. The musicians are young and enthusiastic and their repertoire includes a few standards but is mostly comprised of newer material.
Elliot Deutsch is a top-notch arranger. Sometimes his charts sound a little like Bill Holman's (which is a compliment) and in other cases he keeps the writing a bit more basic and lets his sidemen stretch out. 13 members of the band (everyone except two trumpeters, the guitarist and bassist) have solo space along the way.
To name a few highlights, “Cheek To Cheek” undergoes a modern transformation while still swinging. “The Jury's Out” is an altered uptempo blues. “A Beautiful Friendship” features a warm vocal by Khalil Wilson. “Rhythm Challenge” is a romp through the “I Got Rhythm” chord changes in several keys. The humorously titled “Yeah...We're Sleeping Together” is an uptempo “Just Friends” which features the saxophone section. And while Elliot Deutsch is responsible for most of the arrangements (Brian Owen and Jimmy Emerzian also wrote a couple), he joins his musicians by taking excellent trumpet solos on “The Nearness Of You” and “Stroll At The Beach.”
All in all, Weeknight Music is a very impressive debut for the Elliot Deutsch Big Band, one of the most promising jazz orchestras around today. It is available from www.edbigband.com.