The Buddy Rich Band – Big Swing Face

The Buddy Rich Band – Big Swing Face – 4.5/5

So naturally this special wouldn’t be complete without something by the man responsible be for getting me interested in Jazz in the first place, a drummer of the highest calibre, this showcases the talent of a ‘big band’ style of jazz that he formed. Performed live, this band, consisting of drummers, double bass, trumpets, saxophones and more, impressively succeeds in being wonderfully worked to provide a rich sound, such that even the drums themselves don’t take a overtly large role, this is an album that will be sure to captivate you with its swinging melodies .

Much like a classical orchestra, whilst some element takes the front seat in providing the main melody, the use of numbers to effectively vary volume as well as pitch, where it differs is more than simply the tone, for each individual element is worked in such a way that it can be heard playing off of one another in a seamless manner. And behind all this is the backing layer, consisting of any number of combinations of instruments, all capable of providing a small bit of flare to the end result, not in the least of these is Buddy Rich himself. A joy to behold alone, with plenty of fills between sections, often creatively improvised he once again secures his title as one of the greatest drummers, capable of providing something interesting without ‘hogging’ the focus.

Not to mention the leads frequently taken by the saxophone and trumpet (and occasionally the drums) akin to the solo’s from the great power metal bands, they succeed in adding a rhythm and atmosphere simultaneously without effort. The tracks tend to be relatively short, using a base rhythm which is then played off from, alternating leads before returning. By keeping the tracks short, they succeed in keeping a constant variation in style and pace, even allowing for a ‘duet’ of sorts, where he calls his (then) 12 year old daughter, Cathy Rich, to come and sing on “The Beat Goes On,” the only track to feature vocals, lending something of a personal touch to an already impressive album.

Take a swinging atmosphere, as thick as the great classical composers, sprinkle rhythms so catchy they would make pop artists envious, and supply more technical proficiency than all but the greatest metal bands, and you result in something akin to this; simply phenomenal.

Highlights: Monitor Theme, Beat Goes On, Lament for Lester, Apples