The Washington Area Music Association nominated "Tonight He's Mine" for a WAMMIE in the Best Jazz Recording category
Read what the Gazette Newspapers say about The James Bazen Big Band at Paisanos.
From Hal's Past Picks on the Jazz Canadiana Web Site:
Reedman James Bazen leads his Maryland-based big band on this 1996 CD of standards and originals. It's a well-balanced aggregation driven ostensibly by drummer Steve Larrance, with excellent solos by such performers as trombonists Doug Elliot ("Tonight He's Mine"/"The Funky Little Drummer Boy"), tenor man Kellogg Johnson ("Syeeda's Song Flute"/"Chillin' "), and trumpeter Mike Davis ("The Funky Little Drummer Boy"). Bazen himself, who charted most of the numbers, shows his versatility on flute ("Summertime"), alto sax ("Stranger Things"), soprano ("The Funky Little Drummer Boy") and clarinet ("Danny the Samba Boy"). Four of the eleven compositions have vocals - Patty McKay, offering a wide dynamic range and great flexibility with the lyrics on "Willow Weep for Me", while Debbie Macfarlan treats her own "Tonight He's Mine" with a rich, strong voice to an orchestral Latin Beat. The relaxed, almost bluesy "Chillin' " and John Coltrane's "Syeeda's Song Flute" proved most satisfying for this listener. (J.S.)
From Jack Bowers of Cadence Magazine, November 1997:
An enterprising endeavor by another of the many uncelebrated bands that continue somehow to survive in today's exceedingly hostile musical climate, is enhanced by Bazen's remarkable musicianship, in particular his quirky arrangements of two well known traditional songs, "Danny Boy" and "The Little Drummer Boy," which he transmutes into thoroughly charming conveyances for his well-drilled contemporary ensemble. Bazen, who plays a number of woodwinds, wrote and arranged the shuffling cooker, "Stranger Things," and the laid back blues, "Chillin'," and expertly charted "There Is No Greater Love" and the title selection, whose composer, Debbie Macfarlan, doubles as vocalist.
Pianist Gary Hill contributed two impressive charts, "Summertime" (taken as a vigorous samba) and "I Could Write A Book" (one of Patty McKay's three vocals - she's also heard on "You Can Have It" and the Matt Harris arrangement of "Willow Weep For Me").
In addition to Bazen (flute on "Summertime," clarinet on "Danny The Samba Boy," alto sax on "Stranger Things" and "Chillin'," soprano sax on "Funky Little Drummer Boy"), there are respectable solos by pianists Hill (on his two charts) and Brown; tenors Johnson (who arranged and solos on John Coltrane's "Syeeda's Song Flute") and Lerman; trumpeters McClaeb, Davis and Greene; trombonists Cheal, Gordon and Elliott; guitarists Litz, and drummer Larrance (who anchors a capable and industrious rhythm section).
Listen for yourself.