Tow Away Zone: Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

I love big band, but I also get that it can be lame. Like really really lame. But Thad Jones and Mel Lewis aren't like that. They and their band actually groove and are generally badasses, and their 1969 album Central Park North is a classic. "Tow Away Zone" is the first track and it's one of my favorites. Composed and arranged by Thad Jones (who plays flugelhorn), the chart has soul influences, but also conveys the urgency of a city like New York. Drummer Mel Lewis gives driving tempos to keep things moving without being overbearing. I think my favorite part of "Tow Away Zone" is the sort of shout chorus that happens at 2:38. It's a little different from how charts were usually set up in the 40s and 50s because there are moving lines rather than emphasis on unison, but that's what makes it fun. [Amazon, iTunes, Spotify]


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