John Warren - Finally Beginning
(Fuzzy Moon Records)
John Warren is best known as an arranger and composer for big band, but this disc features a selection of material he has written and arranged over the years for the slightly smaller forces of a nine-piece ensemble (expanded to ten on two of the tracks). And a very good ensemble it is, with the likes of Gerard Presencer and Mark Nightingale in the brass section, Stan Sulzmann and Julian Siegel among the saxes and Gwilym Simcock on piano.
There is a pleasing variety of moods and style across the album, and the playing is excellent. All of the eight tunes are Warren’s own compositions, with the single exception of his attractive arrangement of Monk’s ‘Ruby My Dear’. His approach is both distinctive and personal, but of you are looking for points of comparison, names like Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan come to mind.