Paul Cram Orchestra Campin' Out

This ten-piece ensemble has the outward appearance of a jazz entity, but lurking in its heart is an ecstatic Lalo Schifrin. The five live pieces presented all have some degree of "noir" or '70s cop drama swing to them. You half expect to see Clint Eastwood chasing a punk over rooftops in San Francisco, the five-strong horn section punctuating each leap. Paul Cram compositions have an urgency that starts at the bass and drum level, pushing rock temperament into big band swing patterns. The aggressive tendencies are balanced with textured details provided by electric violin and acoustic piano. And just to keep things current, occasional samples (crowd din, horses in gallop, engines) prop up the mix and keep the motion forward. With just-so soloing and nicely timed calm spots, it all adds up to a wild and satisfying ride. (Victo)