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Serendipity 18
Bob Florence
Serendipity 18
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Nearly every big-band leader (and composer) has had to grapple with the splotching effect that amassed instruments can have. Duke Ellington avoided the problem most often by creating a constant dialogue between his orchest...  more »


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All Artists: Bob Florence
Title: Serendipity 18
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mama Records
Original Release Date: 2/23/1999
Re-Release Date: 2/9/1999
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Swing Jazz, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 734956102524, 073495610252

Nearly every big-band leader (and composer) has had to grapple with the splotching effect that amassed instruments can have. Duke Ellington avoided the problem most often by creating a constant dialogue between his orchestra's different sections. Bob Florence subscribes to the Ellingtonian goal, if not the exact process. Florence's Limited Edition exacts every driving, energized particle from the air as they play, amplifying every single instrument's ability to stand out, even while part of a section riffing against another section--or several sections at once. Serendipity 18 is a mesmerizing display, lit from the opening with big solos that charge ahead and inspire the band to rise up, throwing off peals of brass. Florence's piano is a strong voice, especially on the balladic opening to "Tres Palabras" and virtually all over the more uptempo, large-scale swingers, of which there are many. Florence's is theatrical, ambitious, highly successful music played by a fantastically powerful band--one of the best in the U.S. --Andrew Bartlett

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CD Reviews

A master of sonorities
Dennis M. Clark | San Francisco, CA USA | 09/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Bob Florence's new music and arrangements for this album beautifully celebrate the excellent musicians in his band. It's amazing how he handles so many instruments playing at once without producing a big-band-smear sound; instead, the extremely active counterpoint of the various parts continually surprises the listener, and the result is very exciting, brightly-colored music. The title track is especially compelling."
What about the old Bob Florence?
Roger A. Wolf | Colorado Springs, CO United States | 01/17/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The new Bob Florence is much too frantic for me. I have an old LP called Pet Project that Bob did back in the 70's (?) that is one of the finest albums I have ever heard. It was a take off on tunes that Petula Clark made famous like Downtown and I Know A Place. It is some of the finest writing and musicianship. Doesn't sound as much like big band as it does orchestra band or whatever. Clean, pure, liquid, fun. Never get tired of hearing it. Wish I could find it on CD. The front line is playing every instrument in the book from contra bass clarinet to piccolo. The ensemble sound is truly amazing with no grating soloists trying to hog the scene. Other bands that gave a similar sound and were actually just as good were Billy May's band and the Sauter-Finegan Band. Oh, well, you can't bring back front row sax sections like that anymore. They were too versitile, just like the comedian/singer/dancers of the past like Red Skelton, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Steve Allen. What happened to their likes, anyway?"
OK Stuff, But Just OK
Steven Fernow | Salt Lake City, Utah | 04/29/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Bob Florence is an eminently listenable composer and arranger, and on all of the discs of his that I own he produces at least one show stopper. My admiration and respect for his talent notwithstanding, however, I can't say that I've ever listened to any of his work without grabbing the remote to move to the next track fairly quickly. There is a good deal of excitement in his stuff, but that derives more from energy and drive than it does from inventiveness and sensitivity. The logical comparison is to one of his friends, Bill Holman, to whom he dedicated the song "Willis" on his "Earth" album. I liked the title cut, "Sugar," and "Evelyn," but there is not the same sort of interplay of well-textured layers of sound that one feels in the work of Bill Holman, who manages to sustain my interest in the most diverse of his choices.
Don't take my carping too much to heart--he is enjoyable, and I might be too sensitive to what he doesn't do instead of listening for what he does do, which is respectable and noteworthy. If you want to get to know this fellow, "Earth" and "With All the Bells and Whistles" are better places to start."