Pianist-arranger-composer Michael Pagan’s 2005 Capri Records release features mostly Colorado-based musicians; no surprise as the Capri label is a boutique label based out of Bailey, Colorado. Recorded in Aug. 2004 in the Northern Colorado Recording Studio, Pagan’s Big Band is truly big in that it features five saxes, five trumpets, five trombones, and a rhythm section made up of guitar, piano, bass, and drums, with added bonus vibes from Greg Harris, on the tracks Essential Trivia, and Pag’s Groove.
Each of the eight tracks features two or more solos, with the exception of Lyric Interlude, which only has one solo – that of nationally known trumpeter, Greg Gisbert. Other session favorites include the aforementioned Pag’s Groove, with tasty solos from John Hines on trombone, and Garner Pruitt on trumpet.
Pagan wrote and arranged all the tracks except Never Let Me Go. Wayne Scott’s liner notes mention that in his student days – Pagan has a Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University – Michael was recognized by Downbeat magazine as a “Musician Deserving Wider Recognition.”
Hopefully, Pag’s Groove will pick up the pace for Pagan in the jazz big-band- leader-recognition circles.
Tracks: Essential Trivia, Lyric Interlude, Pag’s Groove, Waltz for a Bad Hair Day, Never Let Me Go, Crazy Man’s Game, More Than a Friend, We’re Almost There
– Jeff Krow