Saturday, July 08, 2000

Army players add sizzle to Pops' big-band sounds




By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        “Swing is back — are ya in the mood?” crowed Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel. Then the impressive sax section of the Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band launched into the swing classic, “In the Mood.”

        With the help of the Jazz Ambassadors, Mr. Kunzel and the Pops took a sentimental journey back to the big-band sound of swing Friday night at Riverbend. Most of the program was devoted to the luxuriant sound made famous by arranger Nelson Riddle, and the tunes flowed by as smoothly as the Ohio River on this perfect summer evening.

        The Jazz Ambassadors (Chief Warrant Officer Freddie Vinson Jr., director) were arrayed, big-band-style in the center of the stage — leaving space for Lindy Hop dance champions Carla Heiney and Steven Bailey. The evening alternated between gently swaying tunes like “Sentimental Journey” — and Irving Berlin's “Let Yourself Go” — where the dancers turned on the electricity with athletic over-the-shoulder flips.

        Among their contributions, they provided a fleet-footed jitterbug to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B,” with singers Brenda Hartman, Patricia Linhart and Laurie Wyant as “The Andrews Sisters.” But their most impressive moment came in “Get Happy,” when Ms. Heiney did a headstand on Mr. Bailey's shoulder, slithered down his back, and came back up through his legs.

        The 19-member Jazz Ambassadors play with precision and balance; when they go solo, one has an inkling of the talent in their ranks. Billy Strayhorn's “Take the "A' Train” ended with a jazzy solo sax and string bass. A high-energy “Well, Git It” climaxed in a screeching showdown between two trumpets.

        Mr. Vinson took the podium for a well-phrased “Let's Face the Music and Dance” and “You Made Me Love You.” The latter featured trumpet soloist Sgt. Maj. John Brye, who played with beautiful tone and style and an easy technique.

        The biggest hand from the crowd of 3,200 went to drummer Staff Sgt. Todd Harrison, who made virtuoso, bombastic contributions to “Sing Sing Sing.”

        Vocalist Michael Gough shone in suave ballades, such as “Unforgettable,” “Summer Wind” and “Nice 'n' Easy.”

       



Breaking the stained-glass ceiling
Stadium seeks 800 for vending jobs
Bedinghaus ad touts stadium projects
Dachau liberators to hold reunion here
Kids snatch up Potter book
List of today's Potter parties
Test your knowledge of Harry Potter
Glossary of Harry speak
'Harry Potter' artist adds magic touch
Metallica fans expected to jam I-71
City acts on street safety
Judges move to end probation office dispute
Mailbag full of surprises
Tech college leader named
- Army players add sizzle to Pops' big-band sounds
GET TO IT
Pig Parade: Pork Rules
Who should be cast away?
Aquarium attendance at a peak
Bank robbery is 38th this year
Bike trail opening in Woodlawn
Boy, 16, charged in killing
Hamilton's aim: better ballpark
Kentucky Digest
Law on sex offenders upheld
Local Digest
Man, 19, indicted in killing of pizza driver
Man indicted in rape of girl
Mom cleared of felony in death of infant son
Pleasant Ridge has block party
Troopers reject contract offer