The two enticingly swinging sessions brought together here find pianist Paul Smith in typically well-crafted form, with “The Big Men” a joyously engaging date in which he is heard performing solo or in a trio. Much skill, considerable feeling, and unceasingly ebullient energy transform this album into a thoroughly listenable program of modern jazz, throughout which his lines show strong classical influence and clear indication of his imposing compositional talent (Theme for Theda). The playing of the trio is crisp and knowing, and there are moments of brilliant musicianship by Smith with the fine support of Vinnegar and Levey, two swingers who keep the pulse vibrant.
Geoff and his mighty Souldiggers lay down a powerful set of blues, funk & soul inspired originals. Feat: Mal Logan, Roger McLachlan & Gerry Pantazis.
Give Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd credit for at least one thing: the subtitle of "Big Men - Big Music" to their 2003 album, Have Love Will Travel, is pretty fun, and partially accurate. The two comedians-cum-retro-bluesmen are indeed big men, and they at the very least have a big band: the back cover features no less than 12 musicians, including the duo, begging the question of just how much does the Have Love Will Travel Revue actually pull in per gig. That's a question better settled by accountants and auditors, of course, but a lot of musicians does mean that the music at the very least sounds busy, even if it doesn't necessarily sound big. But that's really no change from Aykroyd's previous musical excursion, the Blues Brothers, who always utilized a big band to make faithful music.