More than Meets the Ear, by Robin Eubanks Mass Line Big Band,  review by John McBeath (originally published in the Australian)

More than meets the ear

Album: More than Meets the Ear
Artist:   Robin Eubanks Mass Line Big Band
Release Date: 2015
Label:    Artitshare

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This is the first big band album from US trombonist/composer Robin Eubanks who took a year’s sabbatical from his lecturer’s position at Oberlin College, Ohio to complete these works for a 19 piece band.
Some of the tracks were originally written for bassist Dave Holland’s Quintet, where Eubanks played for over 15 years, but he says: ‘The big band allowed me to really flesh things out.’ This follows Eubanks’s 2014 release Klassik Rock Vol 1 exploring the incendiary rock, funk and fusion of the 60’s and 70’s with which the 60 year-old grew up. Several of the top-class sidemen from the earlier collection also appear here including the late trumpeter Lew Soloff in his final recording session.

The title track opens with staccato horn clusters and settles into an ensemble vamp with a driving piano sequence from Glen Zaleski and a fast and fiery tenor solo by Marcus Strickland.

Blues for Jimi Hendrix features Eubanks on electric trombone – an odd-sounding mix of trombone and electric guitar – a jazz rock piece with powerful echoes of Hendrix’s playing, aided by organist Mike King’s swirling vibrato and a heavy beat from drummer Nate Smith.
The leader delivers a completely different, swinging trombone solo on Cross Currents and Soloff on an upper register trumpet excels as does Lauren Sevian at the other end of the scale on baritone sax, all pushed along by intelligent drumming.

A highly-listenable album of big band mainstream swing, both raw and polished in Eubanks’s comprehensive arrangements.

Robin Eubanks – composer, arranger, conductor, producer, trombone, percussion

Antonio Hart – alto sax
Alex Cummings – alto sax
Marcus Strickland – tenor sax
Bobby Lavelle – tenor sax
Lauren Sevian – baritone sax

Lew Soloff – lead. trumpet
Alex Sipiagin – trumpet
Duane Eubanks – trumpet
Aaron Janik – trumpet

Jason Jackson – lead trombone
James Burton – trombone
Jennifer Wharton – trombone and tuba
Douglas Purviance – bass trombone

Glenn Zaleski – piano
Mike King – organ
Boris Kozlov – acoustic and electric bass
David Silliman – percussion
Nate Smith – drums

For just over 24 years I have been a freelance writer, publishing in that time a wide variety of genres: news items, live concert reviews, travel articles, features, personality profiles, and CD and book reviews. I have written for various in-flight magazines, The Adelaide Review, The Republican, The Bulletin, The Australian, The Advertiser, The Melbourne Herald Sun and several regional newspapers. In 1994 I won a national travel-writing prize sponsored by The Australian newspaper, which led to my writing regularly for that paper. Since 2003 I have been jazz critic for The Advertiser and The Australian newspapers, on average contributing weekly to each paper. In 2005 I won a national Jazz Writing Competition sponsored by the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.