Paul Combs' Pocket Big Band is now in its eleventh year of delighting audiences with exciting modern jazz. "This is a nine-piece powerhouse," wrote Ted Belastock in Quarter Notes Magazine. The band's repertoire includes both engaging arrangements of well-known standards and music many have probably never heard before. Among the rarities are compositions by Jazz Giant Tadd Dameron that Combs has discovered in the course of researching his biography of this very important American musician.
Belastock also wrote, "The group is tight, swings as an ensemble, and features fine solo performances by all." The Pocket Big Band has the orchestrational complexity of a big band, but is small enough to give all its members plenty of space for solos. It occupies a space between the big band and the combo, with many of the best features of both.
Writers from Florida to Maine have praised Paul Combs for his saxophone playing. "Paul plays heavenly alto." wrote Valerie Ridenour in Key West, The Newspaper. Larry Nai wrote in Cadence Magazine, "if you dig soprano saxophnone, you really should hear this guy." His long career has included music education as well as performance, and he is active as a clinician and festival adjuicator. A published composer and arranger, Combs started the the Pocket Big Band not only as a vehicle for presenting his own work, but as a forum for the writing of others. The band's extensive book has many arrangements written or adapted for this group specifically, and Combs is always open to the work of young, developing composers.