Project Omaha has returned with a new recording. It's Been a Long Time features a collection of jazz artists who are active in the Midwest or have roots in this part of the country. Listeners may be familiar with the talented artists present: Saxophonist Bill Wimmer, percussionist Joey Gulizia, bassist Mark Leubbe, with Omaha native and acclaimed drummer and composer Victor Lewis and Lincoln native Bryan McCune on cornet and flugelhorn. Also on the lineup is the renowned jazz pianist George Cables, who has performed with a who's who in jazz including Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon, among others. Guest artist Wardell Smith appears on flute on the track "A Bientot".
Together the band presents a stimulating program that will not disappoint.
The session starts with the title track “It's Been a Long Time”, which presents every member of the band in a fully participatory role, engaging the listener in a mature conversation with many layers to appreciate.
Other highlights of the recording are the delightful George Cables original “Helen’s Song” and the Victor Lewis original “I Wanted To Say” that features Bill Wimmer.
This reviewer's favorite selection is the adventuresome “Martian Eyes” that features totally assured work from McCune and Wimmer on a shifting rhythmic landscape as propelled by Gulizia, Leubbe and Lewis.
There is also a lovely rendition of Thelonious Monk’s "Ruby My Dear" that features Wimmer in a beautiful performance on this classic. And for a change of pace the band performs on a Latin Tinged number written by Victor Lewis, "Hey, It's Me You're Talkin' To," which is driven by Lewis's excellent drum work and Gulizia’s dynamic percussion.
This is a brilliant album. Those who enjoy the release can see the band perform in person at Jazz in June in Lincoln this month. More information about that performance can be found at our Jazz calendar elsewhere on this website.