2.Blue Rondo a la Turk
4.Here Comes McBride/Unsquare Dance
6.Blues for Newport
8.Lullaby de Mexico
Album Notes by Minnie Hill
I always imagined that one day I would record a big band album. There were many pages worth of ideas about possible tracks and musicians including where and when I would record it. In reality this album happened sooner than I had ever planned and has turned out so much better than I could have imagined! Getting to hear my compositions and arrangements played by such incredible musicians was a real honour and was absolutely the highlight of the bizarre year that was 2020.
In mid-2020 I began thinking about doing a possible album recording. This was a daunting concept at first as I had always done one off arrangements for performances and never a full set of music for an album. It seemed like a big task although I was really excited at the thought of spending a few months writing an entire album of new arrangements. The idea for the album came from extensive listening to Dave Brubeck's music and research into his life. The more I looked into him the more I found what an incredible life he led beyond his music. In my opinion who a person is when they put down their instrument is really important. Brubeck didn't fit the mould of the traditional jazz musician in the way he lived his life which I found so refreshing and lovely. I then discovered that December 2020 would have marked Brubeck's 100th birthday and it just seemed perfect to record an album entirely of his music. This album was recorded over a weekend in December. The first day of recording marked the anniversary of his death (December 5th) and the second was Brubeck’s 100th birthday (December 6th).
The actual writing of the music was a lot of fun and allowed me delve into a vast array of styles. Toshi Clinch was a big part in helping these arrangements and compositions come to life and I couldn't have done it without him. The music in this album does not fit into one specific genre or style but ranges all the way from a classic Basie style to more modern-day big band writing. During our first rehearsal in late November (mere days after lockdown was lifted here in Melbourne,) you could feel the energy and excitement in the room. This was not only due to the music. Most people in the band hadn't seen or played with each other in many months. I am so grateful to everyone who played on the album and spent countless hours with me workshopping the pieces. This 2020 'Minnie Big Band' is truly one of a kind just like the year it was recorded. I am very proud to have renowned trombonist Marshall Gilkes featuring on my original composition, 'Remarkable'.
Thank you for supporting my music. I hope you enjoy listening!
From Minnie Hill website
Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album
The debut big band album by the Minnie Big Band. Includes a 6-panel gatefold case with photos from the recording and liner notes. Includes unlimited streaming of The Remarkable Dave Brubeck via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Digital Album-Streaming + Download
Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Review from Sydney Morning Herald
Minnie Hill’s debut album, The Remarkable Dave Brubeck, pays tribute to a jazz icon whose career spanned more than six decades. At 20, Hill has just embarked on her own career but her achievements are already remarkable.
Assembling a 16-piece big band for a recording – in the midst of a pandemic, no less – is an impressive feat in itself. And the maturity and sophistication of Hill’s arrangements point to this young bandleader’s enormous talent.
Hill’s arrangements of Brubeck’s music are elaborate and inventive, encompassing a wide array of styles and moods – sometimes within a single tune. In the first set, the players were glued to their charts as they negotiated multiple time signatures and shifting Afro-Cuban rhythms on Blue Rondo a la Turk, and added punchy accents behind Flora Carbo’s deft alto sax solo on Fujiyama.
The band’s confidence and cohesion grew as the night progressed, echoed by Hill’s relaxed gestures as she conducted. Her clever pairing of two tunes pinned to irresistible basslines (Here Comes McBride and Unsquare Dance) featured syncopated handclaps and a joyful piano solo from Miro Lauritz, and the night’s final number – Lullaby de Mexico – built from a languid saunter to a dazzlingly ebullient samba.
The setlist was also sprinkled with a few original tunes by Hill. Enza exuded a quiet warmth, underlined by gorgeous solos from Gianni Marinucci (flugelhorn) and Lachlan Davidson (soprano sax), while Remarkable was built around an appealing melody and warmly expressive horn voicings. Remarkable indeed.