Jazz Album of the Week: AIR POWER from The U.S. Airforce Band's Airmen of Note

May 20, 2020

May 18, 2020. The Airmen of Note are at it again—this time as the historic band celebrates 70 years of dazzling audiences worldwide with the commemorative release, Air Power. Be it live tour performances or special broadcasts, The United States Air Force Band's big band jazz ensemble continues to make its music accessible to everyone.

Keep in mind that you can hear some of the Airmen of Note’s Jazz Heritage Series specials on Monday, May 25th starting at 6 PM on WRTI, featuring guest artists who all hail from Philadelphia! Joey DeFrancesco will appear at 6 PM, Terell Stafford at 7 PM, and Kurt Rosenwinkle at 8 PM. Enjoy!

This latest addition to the Airmen’s catalogue demonstrates actual air power, defined as "the ability to project military power or influence through the control and exploitation of air, space and cyberspace to achieve specific objectives." The United States Air Force has been demonstrating air power since 1947, and their band, today, is using specific tunes to demonstrate this to the listener.

The album opener, “Take it to the Ozone,” is a fast, tight, gleaming example of air power, and is a heck of a way to open anything, be it a concert, a record, a door, a present—you get the gist. The Latin tinged “Eagle Eye” certainly implies flying, but feels more like a coast that highlights the many layers of this large ensemble.

“Watch Your Wingman” is another spicy number that has  the horn sections chasing each other as the percussion holds everything together, much like the service members in the air. However you feel about fly-overs, you must admit, these songs would be a dynamite soundtrack to one.

Some jazz standards make the cut as well, with favorites like “Lazy Bird,” “My Favorite Things,” and “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” for a little nostalgic familiarity for your Memorial Day Weekend. There’s nothing like an excellent big band on a summer holiday weekend to go along with a burger and a brew.