“CLIFFORD THE BIG BROWN DOG.” Nico Sarbanes says that “Clifford the Big Brown Dog” is an homage to Clifford Brown, trumpeter of the 1950s, a hard-bop vibe in the mode of Lee Morgan and the Blue Note era. This energetic tune was a real toe-tapper, with tricky repeated motifs in the melody. Although in a minor key, it conveying some of the high-spirited joie de vivre of Brown’s famous 1964 tune “Joy Spring.” The walking bass helped drive the lively tune to a happy conclusion. –Liz Fixsen
While a student at Towson High School, Sarbanes was twice selected to lead the trumpet section in the Maryland All-State Jazz Ensemble, and in his senior year was selected for the All-Eastern Jazz Ensemble. At McGill University (Toronto, Canada) where he currently studies, he has received the David Holt Award for excellence in jazz studies, the David Nutting Award for trumpet performance, the Calder Spanier Award for composition, and he has performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.