Ray Anderson is a unique trombonist, and his Pocket Brass Band reflects his open-minded musical approach, rambunctious nature and very fertile sense of humor. The group, which also includes trumpeter Lew Soloff, Matt Perrine on sousaphone, and drummer Bobby Previte, often sounds like a crazy parade band. It certainly does not lack for personality!
The virtuosity of Anderson and Soloff (who can hit high notes with ease) and their extroverted personalities are a perfect match. Perrine is a dazzling player on sousaphone while Previte is quite versatile. Together they create music that is consistently memorable.
The six-part Sweet Chicago Suite, which takes up much of this CD, features the quartet playing a New Orleans funeral march, a jubilant blues, freer explorations, a funky showcase for tuba and drums, and some uptempo brass tradeoffs It climaxes with the New Orleans party groove of “Some Day” which leaves listeners in a happy mood. Also on this set is the episodic “The Stingray Rag,” which begins where the Sweet Chicago Suite leaves off and builds from there in passion and intensity, and the dramatic “Next March.”
It would be too simple to call this very lively music avant-garde or parade band music for the 21st century. It fits into its own unique and ecstatic musical category.