Marvin Stamm, Snooky Young, Ernie Royal, Bernie Glow, Richard Williams, Randy Brecker (tp), Garnett Brown (tb), Harvey Phillips (tuba), Ray Alonge, Jim Buffington, Earl Chapin (flh), Jerome Richardson, Romeo Penque, Danny Bank, Joe Farrell (saxes), Warren Bernhardt (p), Eric Gale (g), Chuck Rainey (b), Bill Lavorgna, Bernard Purdie (d), Warren Smith (perc), David Nadien, Gene Orloff (vln), Alfred Brown (viola), George Ricci (cello)
Reference: SK 1004
Bar code: 8427328447041
Gary McFarland actually began AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL half a lifetime ago. When he was seventeen, he spent one summer working as a whistle punk at lumber camps in the heavily wooded country that surrounded his home in Grants Pass, Oregon. He witnessed the last rites for countless trees that summer, and his sense of desolation at the sight of raw and wounded tracts of levelled woodland always remained part of his heritage.
Later, living in Los Angeles, McFarland observed the cancer-like growth of tract housing that has made that city a transportation horror and its car-ridden citizens responsible for an environment which ultimately threatens their lives. Then, as a New Yorker, he shared the frustrations of urban man as he squeezed into up-tight apartment buildings and struggled to keep his senses as they were relentlessly battered by the noise and the dirt, the overcrowding and the violence that have turned every small town boys dream of the Big City into a nightmare.
Every summer McFarland and his family joined the frantic race for a green and quiet retreat away from the citys foul air and compounded tensions. And every summer it became more difficult to find, as undeveloped land went the way of the whooping crane and the aardvark. McFarlands travel in the Army and with bands gave him a virtual seminar on deteriorating America. From Oklahoma dust storms to Calumet City honky-tonks to decaying New England mill-towns, he saw much of it up close. This then is the work of a man who was in training for it even before he had the facility for doing it.
"One of Gary McFarland's major works, this orchestral jazz suite utilizes a big band and some strings along with the influence of rock, classical, and jazz. The six-movement piece is ultimately a bit downbeat about the future of the United States as seen from 1968. The emphasis is on the ensembles rather than any individual voices, and the overall results are certainly listenable but less memorable than one might hope considering the potential scope of the work."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide