Joe McCarthy and Vince Norman adapt Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Pan-American style

Bobby Sanabria, Lee Mergner

Drummer and bandleader Joe McCarthy has been collaborating with saxophonist and arranger Vince Norman going back to their jointly named big band that released albums on Origin Records and coming through various iterations of the Afro Bop Alliance group originally formed in the DC area where both were members of military bands (Army vs. Navy). Inspired by the Latin jazz rhythms that both had explored, the two decided to take their turn at adapting Tchaikovsky’s seminal work for a piece they dubbed The Pan American Nutcracker Suite. Using the New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band (thankfully abbreviated to NYABABB, though that could use further abbreviation), they recorded the suite before and after the pandemic and released the album in September on Angelface Records.