Steve Cannon and the Blow Hard Big Band

Full Blown

Steve Cannon is a trumpeter with a real sense of humor; just look what he calls his 18-piece band! A Southern California native who worked on a pile of television shows before moving to Portland, Ore., in 1993, Cannon has assembled a top-notch group of some of the Northwest’s best players who knock themselves out on a superb collection of Tom Kubis-arranged tunes that range from high-note, up-tempo items (e.g., the opening “Avalon”) to such relaxed goods as the “All Blues/Willow Weep for Me” medley. However, unlike the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra that worked out for years on Monday night at NYC’s Village Vanguard, this band’s lucky to get together twice a month, which makes this CD even more remarkable. The ensemble work, whether backing a soloist or up-front and center, is spot-on and Cannon—a terrific player—generously shares the spotlight. On a Duke Ellington classic, a Latin-flavored “Do Nothing ’Till You Hear from Me,” baritone saxman Tim Bryson and guitarist Jay Koder stretch out with considerable effect while tenorman Renato Caranto and Cannon positively sizzle on the up-tempo “It’s All Left With Me.” The CD’s available online at or through Tower Records.