In William Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Theseus’s second line is: "Go, Philostrate, stir up the Athenian youth to merriments; awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth." The personnel in the Somers Dream Orchestra knows exactly what Shakespeare meant, for they are doing just that."
The Somers Dream Orchestra deliberately keeps the tunes reasonably short and picks mostly standards for the sake of the listeners. This will appeal to the jazz/big-band market and should interest the swing-craze kids, the older folks like me and the general listening public. Since I am interested in dancing,
I found this a plus.
Economics does not allow for as many big bands as in the past, so it is very refreshing when you encounter one as good as the Somers Dream Orchestra. I am personally impressed
with the band.
Kenny Mathieson - Author of "Giant Steps: Bebop and the Creators of Modern Jazz", 1945-65 (Canongate Books/Payback Press, October 1999), Jazz Critic, Jazzwize Magazine and The Scotsman
( Edinburgh, Scotland)
On this impressive debut album ... The Somers Dream Orchestra come up with the goods on all counts. Their full, rich sound, tight, well organized ensemble playing and propulsive rhythm section is complemented by lucid, inventive soloing.
Best of all, though, is just to dig the overall effect of the Somers Dream Orchestra. The immortal bands of Ellington, Basie and the rest drew on some of the greatest soloists in the history of jazz, but what made each band instantly recognisable was the overall sound and conception. Big band jazz is a group activity, and the Somers Dream Orchestra draw on their collective strengths in a powerful and enjoyable fashion in every bar of a A MID-SOMERS NIGHT DREAM, and do so with a commitment and love for the music that shines through in everything they play.
Review by Glenn Thompson of Denver, CO
Featured Artist/Group: Somers Dream Orchestra
CD Title: A Mid-Somers Night Dream
Favorite Song: Stars Fell On Alabama
I recently bought this CD at amazon.com. I was surprised to see that 2 of the cuts were trombone features - since I am also a trombonist. The features, played by Philip Jones, are fantastic! Shades of Urbie Green! I didn’t know anybody could still play that way.
My favorite of the 2 features is Stars Fell On Alabama - supurb ballad playing mixed with lyric improvisation, and fantastic high range. The other feature, On The Street Where You Live, swings like crazy, and Jones nails high notes I thought only Urbie and Bill Watrous could play!
All in all, the CD is marvelous. Loaded with familiar tunes, great solists, and dynamic vocals - this is a number 1 on my list even with out the trombone features! The incredible Philip Jones just makes the icing on the cake. You can’t afford to miss this one!
Impressive debut album!! The Somers Dream Orchestra doesn’t break any new ground on their first album, but their selections and musicality are true to the originals. All of the musical selections are played with energy and vitality, making for a foot-tapping listen. Many of the songs fit the ‘new swing’ craze that has swept the nation.
The vocals are particularly refreshing, and are well-placed throughout the album. One can almost imagine a dance hall full of couples swining to the tunes of "Leap Frog", "Woodchopper’s Ball", or "On the Street Where You Live".
Although the solos are kept short and sweet, all are thoughfully and professionally presented. Certain selections lend themselves to specific styles, and the soloists obviously had these in mind while crafting their ideas.
Overall a great presentation, and some wonderful listening, reminiscent of the great Big Bands of yesteryear. Definitely a fine addition to anyone’s swing library!
"A Mid-Somers Night Dream" is a fast paced, super-swinging CD featuring some of the greatest tunes around. The CD shows off some of the finest performances on the big band scene today by one of the top bands on the East Coast. Packed with exciting vocalists, dynamic instrumental soloists, and blistering ensemble playing, this CD will take you from sentimental to hot in a New York jazz minute!"