Interplay Jazz Orchestra, On The Sunny Side
By: Griff Stevens
Co-directed by trumpeter Gary Henderson and trombonist Joey Devassy, the Interplay Jazz Orchestra proudly represents some of the best players of Long Island, New York. The ensemble performs original compositions and arrangements written by several members of the band. Some of the band members can also be seen playing and subbing with some of the most recognized big bands including The Birdland Big Band, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra. The ensemble’s second album Detour was met with chart topping success and their third offering continuing the tradition is titled, On The Sunny Side and was released in January of 2019.
The opening track is “Sing,” which sets the mood and pacing perfectly. The first sounds one hears are full-bodied full horn voicings that are played with impeccable balance and togetherness. The arrangement by Gary Henderson takes this well-known tune and makes it sound as if it was made for the big band. The melody is clear, and the energy is high. Henderson’s use of counterpoint is especially interesting. The band has panache, with each section creating a clear focused sound. The solo spot is taken by Andrew Gould on the alto saxophone. His solo is deep in the language of jazz and matches the energy and drive of the big band, no small feat! The ensemble swings hard and delivers an impressive opener that foreshadows all the great music to come.
“El Gato Suave” by Joey Devassy is a wonderful original composition by the trombonist. The Latin jazz brings the Cha Cha to life with buzzing brass figures and a baritone saxophone part that is in the pocket. The ensemble plays with a lot of character and even though the selection is relaxed in tempo, the energy is always there and sparkling with excitement. Brent Chiarello’s trombone solo is excellent, his phrasing and tone is aces. Next up is a passionate flute solo by Alejandro Aviles. His fluid lines are supported by well-written and played backgrounds from the horns that keep the music interesting. The short chorus is full of counterpoint and excellent ensemble playing. Steve Henry’s trumpet solo brings the solos to a close on a series of high notes. Wonderful writing and playing makes the Interplay Jazz Orchestra a sheer joy to listen to and explore.
With the release of their third full-length album the Interplay Jazz Orchestra is poised for success. Featuring eleven tracks the IJO is currently the only Long Island big band performing original arrangements and compositions. Several members of the band contributed to the writing on the album including Joey Devassy, Gary Henderson, Damien Pacheco, and Chris Scarnato. It’s a winning sound that is filled with the enthusiasm that only a big band recording can muster. The writing is superb and filled with surprises at every turn.
On The Sunny Side
Release Date: 2019