Bill Watrous, Pete Christlieb & the Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra | Kindred Spirits

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Jazz: Big Band Jazz: Swing/Big Band Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Kindred Spirits

by Bill Watrous, Pete Christlieb & the Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra

Jazz legends Bill Watrous on trombone and Pete Christlieb on tenor sax join forces with this all-star West Coast band, featuring the fresh, creative arrangements of leader/arranger Gary Urwin.
Genre: Jazz: Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Lester Leaps In
5:05 album only
2. Theme from Chinatown
5:34 album only
3. Girl Talk
5:46 album only
4. Beautiful Love
5:00 album only
5. My Foolish Heart
6:37 album only
6. Kindred Spirits
5:32 album only
7. Danny Boy
4:12 album only
8. E.S.P.
5:33 album only
9. That Old Feeling
6:51 album only
10. My Ship
4:44 album only
11. No More Blues
6:07 album only
12. I’ll Be Seeing You
2:44 album only


Album Notes
“Kindred Spirits” combines the talents of two well-known stars of the jazz world, trombonist Bill Watrous and tenor sax player Pete Christlieb. Though each has a long history of successful recordings, this is their first appearance as a featured front line, "together again for the first time". Watrous and Christlieb are backed by a jazz orchestra led by arranger Gary Urwin, who wrote the fresh, never previously-heard arrangements of tunes hand-picked by Watrous and Christlieb specifically for this project.

The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra has been referred to as "A veritable who's who among the Los Angeles area's most accomplished studio and big-band artists." The leader is an accomplished arranger/composer, and the first-call musicians who comprise the orchestra enthusiastically contribute their top-flight musicianship and camaraderie to this musically adventurous, swinging all-star ensemble.

Personnel: The band's personnel includes multiple Grammy-nominated jazz artists, enjoying such luminaries of the Los Angeles jazz scene as Wayne Bergeron, Bobby Shew, Dan Higgins, Rick Baptist, Warren Luening, Kim Richmond, Charlie Loper, Alex Iles, Christian Jacob, Trey Henry and others.

Recordings: The band has released four critically-praised CDs: "A Beautiful Friendship", “Kindred Spirits”, “Living in the Moment” and “Perspectives.” The band's albums can be heard on some 135 radio stations nationwide, as well as abroad. Their second recording, “Living in the Moment”, hit Number 31 on JazzWeek's Jazz Chart and remained on the charts for six weeks.

Live Appearances: The band has played to enthusiastic receptions and well-received press reviews at such Los Angeles jazz venues as Typhoon at Santa Monica Airport, the Jazz Bakery, the Los Angeles Jazz Institute Jazz Festival, Charlie O's, and Catalina Bar & Grill.


Reviews of the band’s third CD, “Kindred Spirits”:

* "It is as brilliant as one would expect from these talents.... the repertoire is comprised of veteran standards, but there is nothing tired or predictable about these renditions.... the two lead voices sound inspired throughout, displaying effortless virtuosity and colorful ideas. Fans of straightahead jazz and boppish big bands will certainly enjoy this fine effort." (L.A. Jazz Scene);

* "The frequent musical conversations between Watrous and Christlieb (trading fours) gives Kindred Spirits a beautiful luster.... Urwin’s keen arrangements provide ample space for his two guests and other soloists to shine while emphasizing the creative interaction of his band’s sections." (All About;

* "...Gary Urwin is one heck of an arranger. His charts for his third CD, though solidly in the modern-mainstream-big-band tradition, use traditional elements in fresh, imaginative ways.... the extraordinary soloists [Pete Christlieb and Bill Watrous] more than do them justice. With saxophonist Kim Richmond, trumpeter Wayne Bergeron and trombonist Charlie Loper as section leaders and a rhythm section of pianist Christian Jacob, guitarist Frank Browne, bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ralph Razze, the personnel couldn’t be more illustrious." (Jazz Times);

* "The third CD by what has become one of the big bands to watch for.... As an arranger Gary has to be considered among the best around.... The ensemble writing is spectacular (a particular strength of the arranger) and performed beautifully." ("Mainly Big Bands" website [UK]);

* "I don't think you can find a stronger trumpet section than the one here…" (International Trumpet Guild [ITG] Journal);

* "The talented arranger Gary Urwin has an uncanny ability, like Bill Holman, to write arrangements that swing quite naturally and uplift the listener's spirits. Urwin's arrangements never lose sight of the tune's basic structure and never go too far out. Yet they also manage to avoid the obvious.... Watrous and Christlieb weave in and out of every arrangement making impressive and often moving solo statements and showing why they are among the finest soloists in jazz today.... Every track here has much to recommend it.... 'Kindred Spirits' is a swinging and very enjoyable big-band CD, and warmly recommended." (User Review on

Reviews of the band's second CD, “Living in the Moment”:

* "a breathtaking follow-up session that bristles with energy, intelligence and class .... Urwin leads an all-star ensemble of Southern California's most accomplished sidemen through a wide-ranging program of striking standards and outstanding originals .... masterfully arranged every number ..." (All About;

* "Sublime. If that word can be used to describe a big band jazz album, it is appropriate here....Gary Urwin pens arrangements that recognize the heritage of Pete Rugolo, Sauter-Finnegan, and Gil Evans with 21st Century enhancements of daring harmony, adventurous instrumentation, and innovative musical ideas. It is difficult to isolate outstanding moments, as every track features wonderful arrangements performed with the consummate ease of these first-call studio musicians .... a delicious treat for big band fans." (International Trumpet Guild [ITG] Journal);

* "There's so much fire and color here, provided by this creative arranger/composer and his Los Angeles-based orchestra .... innovative and multi-faceted....proves that the West Coast big band tradition of Bob Florence (who participated in the liner notes), Bill Holman, Tom Kubis and others continues on with the Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra." (Jazz;

* "a dazzling showcase for [Gary's] prodigious talents, compelling evidence of which can be found on every track"; "a phalanx of world-class soloists who run hard on every play and never drop the ball." (Cadence);

* And perhaps most succinctly, in a consumer review of “Living in the Moment” on "The best big band I've ever heard."

Reviews of the band's first CD, “Perspectives”:

* "Color this debut auspicious." (Jazz Times);

* "A veritable who's who among the Los Angeles area's most accomplished studio and big-band artists." (Cadence);

* "Novel scoring, fine driving playing and top class soloing all make for an excellent issue in the big band genre." (Jazz Journal International);

* "Just when you think that you have heard just about everything a big band can offer, along comes a Gary Urwin with a few fresh ideas to reinvigorate one's interest. I guess that's why big band music is not likely to ever die." (All About


The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra came into being as a "recording band" in 1997, with hand-picked, first rate payers with whom the leader Gary Urwin had been associated over the years as an arranger and trumpet player. With the active support of Business Manager and co-producer Pat Longo, the Orchestra began work on their first CD (“Perspectives”), which debuted on Sea Breeze Records. Word of mouth spread quickly, and the band's activities grew into enthusiastically-received live appearances, a follow-up CD (“Living in the Moment”) reflecting the band's development and growth, and a third CD (“Kindred Spirits”) in which the band collaborates with a "front line" of jazz legends Bill Watrous (trombone) and Pete Christlieb (tenor sax). The band is committed to using familiar tools in a fresh way to stretch the idiom, while always swinging and remaining true to the jazz roots of the music.



to write a review

Verne Whitlock

Fabulous big band setting featuring two of today's best improvisors.
This is a marvelous big band recording that provides many different moods and tonal colors for two brilliant soloists. The arrangements are masterful and the band personnel is a veritable who's who of first call west coast players. A must have CD for lovers of big band music.

Art Genovese

This is big band jazz at it's best!
This band really cooks and Bill Watrous is stupendous. He makes everything sound so easy when you know it's not. The arranging is superb and the execution of this band is flawless. Congrats to all.

Ralph Lara

Quick delivery and secure site!
Pete C. is amazing! Heard him in Canoga Park, Calif 6 weeks ago. A little pub.........the guy is human!!


No one else is like BILL WATROUS on the BONE! If you can hear this artist who plays with Frank Sinatra, Jr, and worked on the MERV GRIFFIN SHOW and CBS in the past, RUN to the venue. We hope this man accepts more bookings around LA and southern California! A LIVING LEGEND!

Donald H


Antonio Zucchi

Kindred spirit
an example of what is a superb modern band. wonderfull


Great album!
If I could pen an arrangement equal to "Theme from Chinatown", I'd be DANGEROUS. Awesome! Phat!

Robert Thomas

Great Stuff
Best Stuff I have gotten in several years. Wonderful writing and playing.

Rosalind Campbell

I is great! I love it...great sounds...
I love big band music...and the trombone sections was exceptionally HOTT to me....Way to go folks!...Nice music.