Nigel Waddington – Bigger Pictures – Cala Records CACD77011, 60:58 ****:
(Saxophones and Woodwinds – Nick Homes, Len Aruliah, Rachel Musson, Rob Hughes, Colin Crawley, Mick Foster, Jay Craig; Flutes/Piccolo – Roland Sutherland, Katy Gainham; Oboe/Cor Anglais – Althea Talbot-Howard, Chris Redgate; Clarinets – Pete Furniss, Jon Carnac; Bassoons – Sarah Price, Glyn Williams; Trumpets – Steve Jones, Paul Newton, Steve Waterman, Pete Rolinson, Martin Shaw, Mike Diprose, Nigel Waddington; Trombones – Richard Pywell, Paul Taylor, Adrian Fry, Mark Horton, Holly Bull, Jeff Miller; French Horns – Anneke Scott, Herrick Hayes, Rachel Martin, Emma Knight; Bass – Gareth Huw Davies; Piano/Keyboards – Rob Taggart, Phil Peskett, John Holer, David Frankel; Guitars – John Blackwell, Gerry Hunt; Drums – Chris Dagley, Brent Keefe; Harp – Hugh Webb; Backing Vocals – Jacui Hicks, Daniel D. Winton; Violins – Vaughan Jones (leader), David Bearman, Maya Bickel, Richard Blayden, Nell Catchpole, Antonia Fuchs, Laura Haarala, Gita Langley, Emma Marin, Gabriel Painter, Margot Rusmanis, Susan Verney; Violas – Reiad Chibah, Mark Coates-Smith, Nina Kopparhead, Rachel Robson; Cellos –Anna Holmes, Emma Black, Zoe Martlew,Anna Mowatt; Double Bass – Gareth Huw Davies)
Nigel Waddington is a trumpet player located in the United Kingdom. He played in big bands. He began arranging and writing for horn sections in jazz and pop projects. He turned also to symphonic or orchestral arranging and compositions. Through his experiences and contacts with excellent musicians he applied his techniques to gain unique and excellent performances both in the recording studio and concert performances. His charts have been broadcast by the BBC Big Band. Some of his work has been used in the United States by other big bands. Nigel has produced two albums under his name: After a Journey and the album being reviewed here, Bigger Pictures.
The title Bigger Pictures is followed by the descriptive phrase, The Art of Nigel Waddington on the album cover. That is an accurate description of the styles of music he presents from track to track. This is an eclectic group of styles of music. My comment is that it works!
The album starts with a tune called “You Got It”. The sound of the music made the group Tower of Power pop into my mind. It starts with a thumping drum and bass for a few bars to be joined by a hefty brass and horn section, electric guitar and keyboard runs. It definitely got my juices rocking.
Suddenly the music cools you down with “I Fly” that is totally orchestral and a ballad like tune aptly reflecting the title. A beautiful vocal is the icing on the cake by the wonderful Claire Martin as you dance through the sound clouds in your mind.
The album continues on with a slow lyrical saxophone playing backed by the orchestra on “Is This a Rainbow”. “Talking to Thomas” is solo piano. Do you get the idea that you do not know where the music style will take you next?
I was really tickled when I first heard the album. My first run through I did not even look at the listings. Suddenly on track seven I heard a distinctive sound similar to Steely Dan. I was stunned and enjoyed it. The vocal on this was by Jacqui Hicks and gave a definite sound like Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The piece is named “Jazz Chops, No Hang-Ups” (an ode to Steely Dan)
Eight of the twelve tracks were written by Nigel Waddington and all were his arrangements. Bigger Pictures actually could be a set of music worked into a motion picture for a sound track in my estimation.
The musicians and musicality are excellent. Sound quality is good and the album notes well put together. This definitely is a fine album. It is difficult to nail down how to categorize it, It’s not really jazz, it’s a bit of many things: easy listening, a little rock, some pump it up funk. It travels everywhere and is just plain fun.
TrackList: You Got It; I Fly; Is This a Rainbow; Talking to Thomas; Bigger Pictures; September; Jazz Chops, No Hang-Ups (an ode to Steel Dan); Lantern on the Stern (in memoriam Malcolm Arnold); James; Like Someone in Love; Tristesse Lili Boulanger; For Dave.
— Tim Taylor
Hard bop heaven – Grant Stewart Quintet…