The Big Bad Bones featuring Scott Whitfield features four premier trombonists (Whitfield, Brett Stamps, Pete Madsen, Steve Wilson) with a solid rhythm section combining talent from across America performing original compositions from the pen of ensemble member Brett Stamps. The Big Bad Bones perform a variety of styles including funk, swing, samba, light rock, and boogie.
You’ve got a chiropractors delight with so many ‘bones in one room as Scott Whitfiled, Brett Stamps and Pete Madsen take on the tenor slider, Steve Wilson carries the bass, and the four gents are driven bby the rhythm team of Ben Tweedt/p-key, Mark Haar/b and Doug Montera/dr for a collect of brass attacks.
The horns show that they are able to show warm harmonies and restraint, displayed on the gorgeous unison intro to the elegiac “Rebirth: Hope Springs Eternal”, while they strut to Tweedt’s keys and Montera’s strutting stick son “Ethanology”. Hints of Woody Herman’s Herd pop up on the hip “Lula Look” with all the Stamps and Whitfeld going man a mano with Haar and Montera, while Tweedt gets some space on the Latin Lover of “Flo Jo Express”. Everyone but Wilson gets a chance in the spotlight, and each has a fingerprint sound while mixing in well to a fist pumper of a session. More sliding than Ricky Henderson
-George Harris for JazzWeekly.com
This album is a fresh and wonderful production that features a montage of trombone excellence. Opening with the title tune, “Emergency Vehicle Blues,” the trombones blend smoothly and seamlessly. Their harmonies, sung by a group of all-star trombone players, present a warm and silky sound. Doug Mantera pushes the Straight-ahead groove on his trap drums and Mark Haar’s walking bass locks into the mix appropriately. The piano solo of Ben Tweedt stands out brightly at the top of the tune. Towards the end, we are drawn into a city of sirens, asphalt and horn cries. Scott Whitfield, based in Los Angeles, is internationally respected, having appeared from Australia to Zurich and everywhere in between. He is the featured trombonist on this album. Whitfield is a complimentary member of the Nat Adderley Sextet and also performs regularly as a guest player with the United States Army Blues Jazz Ensemble. Tenor trombonist, Brett Stamps is the composer of all the original music on this production and he’s the in-house, resident composer for The Big Bad Bones Band. Brett is an alumnus from the Stan Kenton Orchestra and can be heard on three different Kenton records.
“Writing music is exhilarating. Performing it with this group of musicians is incredibly rewarding. What a pleasure to be part of this endeavor,” gushes Brett Stamps in the liner notes.
Pete Madsen is the other tenor trombone player. He resides in Omaha and is the current Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of Nebraska. Steve Wilson is also a respected educator, based in Texas where he serves as Music Department Chair at the University of El Paso. Ben Tweedt lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and bassist, Mark Haar, resides in Omaha. Despite these musicians joining The Big Bad Bones from different parts of our country, they blend handsomely, fitting their talents together like a custom-tailored suit on a very tall man. This awesome band towers above the standard, sharing unique arrangements, expertly written compositions and personalized talents.
BIG BAD BONES/Emergency Vehicle Blues: It’s almost like you have to go sifting through Enlightenment box sets to find blowing dates like this anymore, but here it is. With a front line of solid bone men blowing up a storm of various styles all from the pen of Brett Stamps, this has all the ear marks of a classic blowing date/cutting session where the good vibes just keep flowing. Capable pros that know their stuff, this is the stuff–the real deal all the way. Purely blowing up a good time throughout.
-Chris Spector for Midwest Review