Scott Silbert, Introducing the Scott Silbert Big Band: Jump Children Review
by: Staten Lemee
Scott Silbert is a multiple woodwind player and arranger that was the chief arranger for the United States Navy Band until he retired from the Navy Band in January 2017. He joined the U.S. Navy Band jazz ensemble, “The Navy Commodores,” in 1991 on baritone saxophone and was a featured soloist on national concert tours, at the International Association of Jazz Educators, Saxophone Symposium, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Conference, the Detroit-Montreux Jazz Festival, and on hundreds of performances at numerous concert venues in the D.C area. Silbert joined the Navy band arranging staff in 1999 and became the chief arranger in 2002. During that time, he had written over 400 arrangements for all the performing components of the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C. Since his retirement, Silbert has been an active musician (lead tenor saxophone) and arranger with the prestigious Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and leading both his small group and his big band, both ensembles fan favorites for the massive DCLX swing dance community. Silbert is releasing his first album as a leader, Introducing the Scott Silbert Big Band: Jump Children, which features some of the lesser performed big band works of the 1930s and 40s, all selections transcribed and arranged by Silbert.
“Jump Children” has that bouncing swing feel that dancers love with interactive horn writing supporting vocalist Gretchen Midgley. Silbert’s writing is highly contrapuntal, but each melody is easy to follow and complements each other. The band has excellent phrasing, and each section’s articulation is clean and crisp. With a call and response chorus between Midgley and the band, this is a fun and interactive arrangement that will undoubtedly get people moving and singing.
“Tootsie’s Rag” is an exciting Silbert original with a catchy melody and his usual clear and moving counterpoint. One should notice that Silbert’s strategy as a bandleader is his musical intentions are for dancing and listening. This thematically strong composition has elements of the great swing era, with its saxophones and brass sections working to create rhythmic layers and a swinging buoyant pulse. Silbert manages to still make the piece sound fresh while never losing the dance groove of the thirties nostalgia. The soloists have a vibrant tone and perform with an extraordinary sense of phrasing, while the backing writing is well-constructed and performed with admirable precision.
Introducing the Scott Silbert Big Band: Jump Children brings two of the greatest joys music offers: dancing and concentrated listening. Brimming with an exciting set of arrangements and an original, this set is performed by an outstanding ensemble that will knock your socks off. Able to withstand careful listening or joyous movement, Silbert has you covered with Introducing the Scott Silbert Big Band: Jump Children.