CNY (Central New York) Jazz Orchestra – Then, Now & Again – CNY Jazz Orchestra CD + DVD

by | May 23, 2008 | CD+DVD | 0 comments

CNY (Central New York) Jazz Orchestra – Then, Now & Again – CNY Jazz Orchestra CD + DVD CNY-101, CD: 1 hour ***1/2 []:

The Central New York Jazz Orchestra was founded as a non-profit organization a dozen years ago to provide jazz presentations in public and in schools in the upstate New York region. They also have a theater space, Jazz Central, in Syracuse.  Bret Zvacek is the music director and he’s done several of the arrangements on the 10-track CD here.

The 18-piece band sounds great on the CD – tight, tuneful, good solos and a pleasing ensemble sound.  I’m sure they are doing a grand job of keeping alive the idea of big band jazz in their region. And they sound like more than just a regional orchestra.  I think my fav of the tracks was the familiar Miles Davis/Ron Carter vehicle Eighty-One. Zvacek did the arrangement, as he did for the next track, I Loves You Porgy. The track All Things Considered works with the theme from the NPR news show; perhaps the idea came from Tommy Newsom’s big band variations on NBC’s chimes, but it doesn’t work as well. Perhaps not that much musical material in the theme to start with. The closing Mr. Sandman arrangement is a winner – wonderfully nostalgic and swinging, yet not dated-sounding. Be the way, love that album cover art!

Originally I received the CD-only version of the album.  On the back it said “CD/DVD Collector’s Edition,” so I inquired what happened to the DVD and received this dual disc version. The short five-selection video DVD was recorded at the Hotel Syracuse and is complete with long intros to the tunes. It is 4:3 PCM stereo and not up to the highest standards either in image quality and lighting nor the sonics. The band doesn’t sound nearly as together as on their studio session CD.  I’d advise staying with the CD-only version, which is a winner.


1. Get Smart
2. HipNotHop
3. Eighty One
4. I Loves You Porgy
5. All Things Considered
6. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set
7. Status Quo
8. Things Happen
9. Shimmer
10. Mister Sandman

1. Things Happen
2. Mister Sandman
3. Get Smart
4. All Things Considered
5. HipNotHop

 – John Henry

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