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The Walt Boenig Big Band has been swinging in Las Vegas since 1981. Its music is conventional but inventive within the genre of straight-ahead jazz. The double-CD A Lot of Us has performances from the orchestra in 1998 and 2002, and despite some changes in personnel in the interim, its appealing sound remained unchanged. There are no "names" in the ensemble (best known is veteran tenor Jack Montrose, who does not get to solo), but the musicianship is excellent, the arrangements (by Tommy Check, Walt Stuart, Bobby Harrison, and Joe Lano) fit the music well, and the repertoire (a mixture of standards with eight group originals, six by Check) consistently swings. Fans of modern big-band jazz who are willing to take a chance on an obscure orchestra will enjoy this spirited set. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
Scott Yanow - All Music Guide (Jun 10, 2006)
A Lot of Us
The Walt Boenig Big Band | DYN

By Jack Bowers
Trombonist Walt Boenig, who paid his dues on the road with the Glenn Miller, Harry James and Jimmy Dorsey bands, among others, has shaped his own Las Vegas-based ensemble in their swing-era image while bringing them up to date with sparkling new arrangements by Tommy Check, Walt Stuart, Bobby Harrison and Joe Lano.

A Lot of Us, four years in the making, is the band's second album; the first was A Little of You. It's a two-disc set with eleven tracks on Disc 1, seven on Disc 2 including two -- "Summertime," drummer Check's "Lady J" -- that are almost eleven minutes long. The level of musicianship is high throughout, and the band swings easily through a program of ten long-lived standards, half a dozen ear-catching originals by Check and one each by Stuart ("After Hours") and the late Harrison Hickey ("Mambino").

There are a number of engaging solos, especially by guitarist Lano ("Always," "Summertime," Check's "A Twist of Lemon," "Have Guitar, Will Travel" and "Lady J"). Tenors Jay Rasmussen and Tony Osiecki skirmish toe-to-toe on Harrison's lively arrangement of Henry Mancini's "Days of Wine and Roses," and Osiecki is the main man on "Unforgettable." Others given elbow room include altos Dennis Wilson and Fred Haller, trombonists Bobby Scann and Dick McGee, trumpeter Rocky Lombardo and pianist Vincent Falcone. Boenig doesn't "solo" as such, but plays the melody on ballads ("Invitation," "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," "Unforgettable," "Nevertheless") while bass trombonist Sonny Hernandez does the same on Check's high-stepping "Where's Mr. McFarland." There's one vocal, and it's a good one, by Jo Belle on the Ellington chesnut "It Don't Mean a Thing."

Check's funky version of George Gershwin's "Summertime," which opens Disc 2, blends screaming brass with greasy solos by Lano, Rasmussen and bassist Brace Phillips, and Lano displays his nimble chops on Check's fast-moving "Have Guitar." Other highlights include Stuart's bluesy "After Hours" (solos by Falcone, Rasmussen, Lombardo, McGee, baritone Rod Adam), Check's graceful "Lady J" (Lano, Lombardo, Scann) and Hickey's sunny "Mambino," ably driven by drummer Bobby Harrison and percussionist Howard Agster and featuring perky solos by Osiecki and pianist Ronnie Simone.

A Lot of Us encompasses nearly two hours of invigorating big-band Jazz / dance music, lovingly dedicated to the memory of composer / arranger Hickey and saxophonist Ron Helvie who played on the sessions recorded in April / May 1998. While the album's resonant "ballroom" sound takes some getting used to, that's a minor distraction and one that is quickly passed over in the face of so much entertaining music.

Contact: Dynamic Musical Productions, P.O. Box 12961, Las Vegas, NV 89112-0961. Phone 702-456-2161; e-mail
Jack Bowers - All That Jazz (Jun 10, 2006)

Most listenable big band in a long, long time
Reviewer: Jimmy Morgan
I am a volunteer d.j. on WKHR - FM 91.5-check us out on the web - - we specialize in the big band sound -24/7 , no commercials in stereo - and Walt does it all.Fine group of cats to be sure.

A great band with a blast from the past of some great Jazzmen
Reviewer: Tim Taylor-JavaMan
A great sounding Big Band with good arrangements. I note from the liner notes there are some blasts from the past. Jack Montrose for one. I purchased originally because an old schoolmate, Sam Cernuto is in the trombone section. Then I reviewed it. GOOD STUFF! JavaMan KMHD gresham

Just wonderful
Reviewer: Robyn Reynolds
My chemistry students request this CD to listen to when working at their desks. They love the music. I find the music very relaxing....soothing. The teachers come by at the end of the day to listen with me. This CD is just wonderful.

Terrific, right up there with the very best, and the recording too.
Reviewer: Don Crowell

Reviewer: Ben Tolly , Musician
One of the most enjoyable Big Band CD's to come out of Las Vegas,Ever:worthy of World Recognition and a credit to the Music Industry. Expertly done, and if purchased, you will be delighted with the listening pleasure..

Some great originals and arrangements by Tommy Check!
Reviewer: Judy Yocum
Tracks 9,ll and 12 are superb! Hats off to Tommy Check, drummer/arranger! The band is right on target with their execution of these remarkable charts!

Reviewer: Robert Ball
I've known Walt all my life and find his reditions of these great Big Band numbers refreshing and new though true classics. Wynton M. had better watch out!

The music was great!
Reviewer: Debbie Archer
I loved the selections of songs. I hadn't heard some of them in years. My husband is an avid country music fan but thought your CD was fantastic!

Really great CD
Reviewer: John Wright
This is one of the best big band jazz CD's to hit the music world in a long time. All the musicians are great and the arrangements are terrific. Buy it - you'll love it!
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Brass Roots Quintet presents concert at Charleston Heights Arts Center
The Brass Roots Quintet will perform a free concert at 3 p.m. June 16 at the Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.
The quintet's wide-ranging repertoire embraces all styles of music. Selections may include Russian folk songs, Civil War medleys, classical music, ragtime, blues or standards such as "Fly Me to the Moon."
The five members are Gary Cordell and Rock Lombardo on trumpet, Walter Boenig on trombone, Doug Beasley on horn and Dan Uhrich on tuba.
Boenig toured with the Glenn Miller and Harry James orchestras before performing in local showrooms and forming his own band.
Cordell has performed with the Nevada Symphony, Nevada Chamber Orchestra and Nevada Opera Theater.
Lombardo has played with brass quintets, symphonies and opera companies.
Beasley is band director at Greenspun Middle School and a member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Symphonic Band.
Uhrich is a veteran Las Vegas musician who has performed with local symphonies.
Jun. 05, 2007 - Las Vegas Review-Journal (Jun 5, 2007)