"Full House" is a minor blues that features the saxes in both solo and soli roles in deference to the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis (now Village Vanguard) Jazz Orchestra, aptly titled to convey the kind of Monday night audiences they continue to attract.
Also from the Thad Jones influence comes "Where Are You." It started as a re-harmonization assignment for my time with Thad many years ago (right before he moved to Europe!). Mike Carubia’s flugelhorn and John Mosca’s trombone partner with the soprano sax and piano dialogue to fuse the ensembles and the solos.
"No Evidence" is an original tune based on the standard, There Is No Greater Love mixed with the spirit of Thelonious Monk’s classic, "Evidence." It features the Lalama Brothers along with a “Pittsburgh-style” ensemble section that reflects our roots.
"Duke Ellington’s Sound Of Love" is a Charles Mingus composition that features former Hofstra faculty member Dave Pietro in this arrangement. This particular arrangement and performance illustrates our love and respect for both Mingus and Duke.
Joe Henderson’s "Inner Urge" also features Dave Pietro on alto sax along with Hofstra alum John Marshall on tenor sax. It is the only arrangement on this recording that moves alum Mike Rubenstein into the lead trumpet chair with the full support of the band’s lead trumpet player (and Mike’s teacher) Dr. Leon Petruzzi.
Clifford Brown’s solo provides the trumpet section (led by Hofstra faculty member Dr. Leon Petruzzi) with the featured voice in this arrangement of Sonny Rollins’ "Pent-Up House." Along with soloists Dave Pietro, (alum and faculty member) Pete Coco and John Mosca, drummer Tony Tedesco (also a Hofstra faculty member) presents the initial melody of the tune while providing the swinging “Max Roach” feel throughout.
Next is the James Moody classic "Moody’s Mood For Love." With apologies to my former employer, Eddie Jefferson, we present this instrumental version, not with his timeless lyric, but an ensemble dialogue between the saxes and brass, capped with an “In The Mood For Love” solo by Glenn Drewes.
"St. Thelonious" is a calypso homage to another one of our heroes that uses Monk themes as the foundation of both the melodic and harmonic DNA of the arrangement and improvisation. However, the inherent rhythmic genes are clearly the contribution of Tony Tedesco and Pete Coco throughout.
We dedicate Oscar Pettiford’s "Tricotism" to the memory of Robert Bowen III. Bob was one of Hofstra University’s best and brightest faculty members whose spirit has touched the lives of all with whom he had contact, either through his teaching or musical artistry. Pete Coco honors the memory of his mentor in this bass feature through his solo and his partnership with the trombones in an arrangement of the original Pettiford recorded improvisation.
Most of us “elders” performing on this recording were very lucky to begin our professional musical careers with the legendary Jazz big bands of the sixties and seventies. "The Song Isn’t You" was first created for the Buddy Rich Big Band Machine to feature my brother Ralph Lalama and (my “brother-from-another-mother”) Glenn Drewes. With Tony Tedesco channeling Buddy, and John Mosca starting us off, they all give the youngsters some idea of what they missed.
This arrangement of Jimmy Rowles’ "The Peacocks" features former Hofstra faculty member Jeff Lange with his lyrical baritone sax performance and the stratospheric lead trumpet playing from Dr. Leon Petruzzi. Proving that “those that can teach, definitely can DO!”
"Blues For…" starts off with one of those “youngsters” (Brent Chiarello) on the trombone to introduce this representation of our roots that spawned The Hofstra Project. As the blues is one of America’s gifts to the rest of the world, I always like to begin and end the school year performances with this noble musical form.
"Evansville (Bonus Track)" is an original musical expression of gratitude to Bill Evans that features the piano player throughout. It is offered here as a loving “Thank You” to these wonderful musicians whose talent, musical IQ and (most of all) friendship can never be accurately described in mere words. I hope that the listener feels the same sense of sincerity, affection and feeling we had in the studio and tried to capture in The Hofstra Project.
Dave Lalama (October 2012)