by Greg Hopkins



Summit Records has captured two sessions recorded in Boston by a group of New England musicians led by trumpeter Greg Hopkins. Most of the music was composed by Hopkins and is designed to incorporate the events that influenced him during the last 25 years, running from his work in jazz and Motown in Detroit to playing in and writing for such big bands as Buddy Rich's. The title is somewhat misleading. The music is less African than European symphonic. This group of similar large contemporary bands that perform in concert like the Carla Bley Very Big Band, the Mingus Big Band, and the European-based George Gruntz Concert Band. It also follows in the tradition of the Duke Ellington Orchestra when that unit was in a concert mode. Like those organizations, the Hopkins unit features exciting arrangements, tight, dynamic ensemble work, and strong, straight-ahead blowing from top rate soloists. There are four two-part compositions on the album, allowing Hopkins' ideas to be fully realized by this very good band of musicians. "Steller-Prologue" and "Steller by Satellite" are journeys, relatively gentle rather than perilous, into the creative world of modern jazz, with jagged rhythms and dissonant give and take between instruments, such as between Hopkins' trumpet, Joe Hunt's drums with clashing cymbals, and Jeff Galindo's trombone. Hopkins, as expected, gets most of the solo work, although sax man Billy Pierce and guitarist Mick Goodrick get chunks as well. Pierce has spacious solo room on Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes" with Mick Goodrick's guitar working underneath. This is one of the prime tracks on the album. Okavongo is prime, progressive big band music with symphonic jazz overtones at its most exciting and imaginative. Recommended.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/01/2001
Label: Summit(Classical)
UPC: 0099402293929
catalogNumber: 293

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Greg Hopkins   Primary Artist
Bill Pierce   Soprano,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
James Williams   Piano
John Daly   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Jerry Ash   Trombone
Paul del Nero   Bass
Bruce Gertz   Bass
Mick Goodrick   Guitar
Tim Kelly   Trombone
Chris Neville   Piano
Tim Ray   Piano
Rick Stepton   Trombone
Jeff Stout   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Mark Phaneuf   Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone
Joe Hunt   Drums
Mark Pinto   Flute,Alto Saxophone
John Griener   Flute,Soprano,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Paul Fontaine   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Scott Deogburn   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Tommy Ferrante   Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone
Jeff Galindo   Trombone
Tony Lada   Trombone
Bruce Nifong   Flute,Alto Saxophone
George Zance   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Larry Monroe   Flute,Alto Saxophone
Don Gorder   Trumpet,Flugelhorn

Technical Credits

James Williams   Composer
Bob Patton   Producer
Joe Hostetter   Engineer
Greg Hopkins   Arranger,Producer

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