By Ammar Kalia | Published February 2022
Tributes are the lifeblood of Ed Palermo’s big band. Beginning in 1997 with an album celebrating Frank Zappa, Palermo’s 16-piece group has gone on to release several more volumes of Zappa’s music, as well as records on The Beatles and Todd Rundgren. Palermo’s tributes highlight the lasting power of the original material, as well as subtly altering it into a new format.
Palermo now turns to the works of Texan bluesman Edgar Winter, seemingly ideal territory for the jazz-fusionist big band.
The band works best on numbers with a built-in swing, such as on the Ray Charles-inspired title track and the maximalist Quincy Jones references of “All Out.” Guest vocalists also soar atop the vamping horns, especially Vaneese Thomas on the gospel-laced “You Are My Sunshine.”
It is only on the guitar-led “Tobacco Road” and the esoteric songwriting sections of the “Winter’s Dream” suite (“Where Have You Gone,” “Rise To Fall”) that the big band arrangements can make the sparkling melodies feel laden. Here, Palermo encounters the overbearing potential of the tribute.
Yet, I’ve Got News is still a largely satisfying showcase of big band versatility — an instrumental behemoth that can take almost any genre in its stride.
I’ve Got News For You: The Music Of Edgar Winter: I Hate Everybody; Tobacco Road; Peace Pipe; All Out; A Different Game; Dyin’ To Live; Jump Right Out; Entrance; Where Have You Gone; Rise To Fall; Fire And Ice; Hung Up; Back In The Blues; Re-Entrance; You Are My Sunshine; I’ve Got News For You. (58:56)
Personnel: Ed Palermo, arranger; Cliff Lyons, alto saxophone, clarinet; Phil Chester, alto saxophone, flute; Bill Straub, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Ben Kono, tenor saxophone, flute, oboe; Barbara Cifelli, baritone saxophone; Ronnie Buttacavoli, John Bailey, Steve Jankowski, trumpet; Charley Gordon, Mike Boschen, trombone; Matt Ingman, bass trombone; Bob Quaranta, piano; Ted Kooshian, electric keyboards; Paul Adamy, electric bass; Ray Marchica, drums ; .Vaneese Thomas, vocals (15).
Ordering Info: palermobigband.bandcamp.com