Slamming!" -Down Beat Magazine
"The Real Thing!" -Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A swinging big band with the feel of a great quintet." -Jack Bowers, all-about-jazz.com
"Off the chain!" -H Johnson, WABE Atlanta
"Nice, clean, swinging tunes..." -Claudia Russell, KSDS San Diego
"Great disc with plenty to choose from." -Mike Jacobs, KIOS Omaha
"This 'Little Big Band' certainly delivers!" -Peter Kuller, 101.5 FM Adelaide, Australia
Featuring the finest jazz musicians in the greater
Atlanta area, Tempest consistently blows up a storm!
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With six horns—alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones; two trumpets; one trombone—plus piano, bass, and drums, Tempest "Little Big Band" (TLBB) has a powerful sound all its own. Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Count Basie…the big bands are well represented in Tempest's expansive repertoire.
What separates TLBB from a typical swing band is an adherence to the fundamental heartbeat of jazz—improvisation. Tempest "Little Big Band" jams! In addition to the sounds of the big bands, you'll find TLBB set lists dedicated to the small-group sounds of Miles Davis ("All Blues," "Seven Steps to Heaven," "Freddie Freeloader"), John Coltrane ("Central Park West," "Moment's Notice," "Impressions"), Art Blakey ("Thermo, "Caravan," "Killer Joe"), and many more…all exquisitely arranged for Tempest.
Tempest "Little Big Band" is a nine-piece (plus vocalist) band led by saxophonist James Rozzi, who, prior to calling the band’s first and only rehearsal in 1997, was known to Atlanta's jazz musicians more for the stroke of his pen than the sound of his horn. Rozzi’s biweekly column, "‘Round Midnight," in Creative Loafing covered the city's jazz scene for more than four years. Rozzi now freelances as a jazz journalist, primarily for Jazziz magazine.
When the musicians gathered for the first time, every chart they rehearsed was met with enthusiasm and was quickly mastered. TLBB's musicians are superb both at interpreting written manuscript and improvising. It's always a great experience to hear them blaze through a difficult, uptempo ensemble passage, then turn around and play with absolute subtlety and finesse on a slow ballad. Musically, it's always happening.
TLBB's latest, critically-acclaimed CD, "Round Midnight" (available internationally through CDbaby.com, amazon.com and itunes), is a well-balanced, ten-track trek through multiple jazz genres. While the sound of TLBB's first CD, "Atlanta Live" (released in 2001) is based on lengthy improvisations, “’Round Midnight” also showcases the tasteful dinner and dance music that has made TLBB an in-demand band for classy black-tie events and entertaining shows.
When the situation requires a specific theme, TLBB delivers. The band’s library is expansive at more than 150 songs. They can play an afternoon concert of straight-ahead jazz and then turn around and play a dance or blues concert that night—without repeating songs. Tempest "Little Big Band" plays it all, from Woody Herman to Wayne Shorter to Weather Report.
TLBB has also performed its share of themed concerts, including a Tribute to Duke Ellington ("Take the 'A' Train," "Sophisticated Lady," "Perdido"), 1940s swing-era concerts ("In the Mood," "Begin the Beguine," "Moonlight Serenade"), blues festivals (a la Muddy Waters and Ray Charles), and a musically adroit "History of Jazz" presentation—playing music from New Orleans Jazz to the Avante-Garde.
Tempest "Little Big Band" employs outstanding vocalists. Audrey Shakir is as accomplished an improviser as any horn player. She delivers the libretto to standard tunes with individualism and honesty and is revered throughout the U.S. as one of the very best scat singers—in the vein of Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan. Atlanta legend Joe Gransden often sings and plays trumpet with TLBB. His voice covers the gamut from Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the more free-flowing style of Chet Baker. A virtuoso trumpeter and leader in his own right, Gransden is always a joy to hear. His trumpet solos on "'Round Midnight" and other classics are amazing.
Adding to their versatility, Tempest "Little Big Band" recently added a solid set's-worth of blues vocals to our substantially huge repertoire. TLBB now has the ability to transform into a gutbucket blues band! Slow, fast, happy, sad, bawdy...you name the groove and we have the blues song to fit the mood. These new blues vocals supplement several sets of blues instrumentals already in the book. So, TLBB is also a blues band...wailin', shuckin' and jivin'!
Over the years, the band has garnered considerable accolades. "Round Midnight" has charted nationally on JazzWeek—no easy feat in this day and age of en masse, self-produced jazz CDs. The band has been described in Down Beat magazine as "Slamming!" Critic Steve Dollar of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution touted the sound of Tempest thusly: "This is the real thing."
In addition to long-running gigs at Atlanta’s Churchill Grounds, Café 290, and Libby's Cabaret, the band has been featured at corporate events, private concerts, and parties throughout the Southeast, and at the JVC and Atlanta Jazz Festivals—all to rave reviews.