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Sweet Home Suite

by Greg Runions Big Band

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The New Cure 12:02
Oh Brother! 14:45
4 p.m. 10:48


Sweet Home Suite The Greg Runions Big Band Independent, Grind 2002
A new release for a 19-piece big band is quite surprising in our era of compactness, lowered budgets and the rest. Greg Runions large group bursts forth from the opening track The New Cure, with immediate energy and tight discipline. Clearly much hard work has gone into the preparation of this. The New Cure is one of four pieces that make up the Sweet Home Suite. Runions, a Kingston Ontario-based composer, shows good-humoured quirkiness in his writing style throughout the CD, and this is sure to bring a smile.
Several modal shifts through a number of apparent key signatures are some of the highlights of Oh Brother! which also has expressive solos from no fewer than five of the players. Pianist Brian Dickinson's solo here is especially noteworthy.
Two tunes round out the disc: Waltz for Lauren with masterful arrangements and even a solo on the vibraphone from composer Runions himself. The final track 4PM begins with a sonorous chorale-like episode, first for the brass instruments and then the reeds alone.
The all-too brief notes hint at the glorious past of this eastern Ontario big band, with nods of thanks to former guest artists, Kenny Wheeler, Mike Murley and Don Thompson among those mentioned.
John S. Gray , The Wholenote

GREG RUNIONS BIG BAND Sweet Home Suite (Indie) The Kingston vibraphonist and bandleader swims against current tides by keeping expensive big bands in the limelight and for this most interesting release uses area musicians, Canuck expat tenorman Andrew Rathbun and a gang of high-profile Toronto types on his lively four-part suite plus two bonus blowing tunes. Runions modestly takes only one solo (on the non-suite "Waltz For Lauren") but his colleagues get plenty of room to strut their stuff. Rathbun burns on "The New Cure" while on the mellow, rich "Living Lonely" Kingstonians Dave Barton (guitar) and Mike Cassells (drums) shine alongside T.O. pianist Brian Dickinson. The writing is often taut and tense, but that's contrasted with strong soloing over ensembles that really flow. Trumpeter Sandy Barter anchors a solid trumpet section, bari saxist Merlin Williams is a force throughout and tenorist Jon Stewart gets to wail on "Oh Brother!"
Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star, 04-03-2003.


released October 20, 2002

Sandy Barter, Clyde Forsberg, Steve McDade, Janet MacRae, John McLeod
Josh Brown, William Carn, John Palmer, Tim Booth
Chris Alfano, Chris Mitchell, Andrew Rathbun, Jon Stewart, Merlin Williams
Brian Dickinson, piano
Dave Barton, guitar
Arthur Roth, bass
Mike Cassells, drums
Greg Runions, vibraphone/composer

Contact: Greg Runions
699 Willis Street
Kingston, Ontario
K7M 6J5, 613-384-4307,


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Greg Runions Septet/Big Band Kingston, Ontario

Canadian composer and vibraphonist, Greg Runions, has been creating music for big band for about 25 years. Self taught as an arranger and composer, Runions started his own big band to help him hear his work and develop his writing. The band hails from his home town of Kingston, Ontario but frequently includes musicians from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. ... more

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