Big Band Reviews

REVIEWS  OF Convergency  

“One of the best big band albums I've heard in many a long day's listening. Convergency gives me the same kick that I got from when I first heard the big bands of Boyd Raeburn, Stan Kenton, Dizzy, Woody, Gil, Thad and Mel... Slonaker is up there with them." Lance Liddle, Bebop Spoken Here

“While his charts exemplify the best of contemporary big-band jazz, each one is fresh and sparkling, with more than enough dynamism and ingenuity to capture a listener's interest and hold it from start to finish. When one enters the fray with an album as impressive and well-received as Intrada, it is often difficult to produce a second recording that lives up to that promise. Slonaker has done so with room to spare.” Jack Bowers, All About Jazz

"His debut release, Intrada (Origin Records, 2014), received a well-earned Grammy nomination, and his sophomore effort is no less accomplished, with the well-designed compositions and outstanding ensemble work that justify all the attention it will no doubt receive. The album features Slonaker's compositions, all of which are fully realized, multifaceted journeys that evolve in intriguing directions. It's a testament to Slonaker and his band's vision and dedication that they were able to pull this off, and with such excellent results to boot.” Troy Dostert, All About Jazz

"Dave Slonaker’s Convergency is just what a Big Band fan would hope to hear from the composer/arranger who gave us Intrada. From hard swings to delicate ballads to glorious romps, Slonaker’s arrangements are amazing… this is a wonderful addition to the world of Big Band jazz.”  Travis Roger's Jr., The Jazz Owl

“It is the arrangements of the leader that give his big band its own musical personality. His charts are modern, invigorating, full of variety, and clearly an inspiration for his sidemen. The charts are fairly complex but these top-notch musicians give the impression of playing them effortlessly. Even when they are solid swingers such as “A Curve In The Road,” the music is full of surprises in the writing. One can never quite predict what is going to occur next.” Scott Yanow, L.A. Jazz Scene

“An artistic production that celebrates big band beauty in an unforgettable way. Part of the reason for this masterpiece are Dave Slonaker’s compositions and arrangements.  The other part of the brilliance is thanks to the A-list of Southern California jazz cats.  They bring their own mastery to the party, interpreting each of Slonaker’s original songs the way a diamond cutter polishes his stones.”  Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs

“His charts are immaculate, the playing impressive and the swing is undoubtable.  Class, classy and classic, this big band date is one for the record books.”  Chris Spector, Midwest Record

“Many of the tunes have an Aaron Copland type of majesty, with rich section work on the swinging “Convergency” or elegiac harmonies on “A Gathering Circle"… a rich mix of familiar thoughts and fresh colors…Impressive ideas!” George Harris, Jazz Weekly


REVIEWS  OF  Intrada  

"[Slonaker´s] music is contemporary in the best sense of the word, harmonically sophisticated yet always accessible thanks to an unswerving reliance on time-honored melodies and rhythms. In other words, this is big-band jazz that quickens the pulse, swings hard and enhances the tradition." Jack Bowers, All About Jazz 

"The best of big band music incorporates tight harmonies, is propelled by punchy rhythms, and offers lyrical solo beauty, and that´s all to be found in Intrada. No wonder the disc has just been awarded a Grammy nomination as best large jazz ensemble album." Jack Garner, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle 

"A throwback to the glory days of arrangers…A dynamic set with a big band populated by the crème of contemporary jazz, this is one of those sets that looks forward while looking back." Chris Spector, Midwest Review 

"…arranged and conducted by Dave Slonaker it harkens back to the days when the large group was as much an arrangers vehicle…" Larry Hollis, Cadence 

"This is the smoothest orchestra that I´ve heard in years. The arrangements are superb; the solo work, distributed among the cadre of artists, is sensational." Ric Bang, Jazz Scan 

"…all of the performances on Intrada will be enjoyed by fans of modern jazz ensembles…a very impressive debut for the Dave Slonaker Big Band." Scott Yanow, Jazz Inside Magazine 

"Fresh and invigorating, and highly listenable, this is some premium stuff!" George Fendel, Oregon Jazz Scene