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It's a refreshing, straight-ahead quintet that interprets these songs by San Francisco Bay area composer Reed Kotler. All five members of the quintet solo throughout this 2-CD set; but it's the distinctive, front line work of Bobby Shew and Gary Foster that thrills. Shew provided the musical arrangements. As his schedule reveals, the trumpeter is noted for his work all over the world as a brass clinician. Here, on this album, Shew's big bold tone and exciting technique provide adventure. Tributes to Clifford Brown, Bob Cooper, Kenny Barron, Bill Evans and Smith Dobson fall right on the button. Shew's arranging pairs flute and muted trumpet for a Caribbean mood; flugelhorn and tenor saxophone for a lush ballad. The impressions are clear. As each artist improvises and trades fours, the composer's various themes come alive. Kotler's songs provide a lesson in jazz history. Bill Cunliffe, Darek Oles and Paul Kreibich provide soulful improvisation every time up. From calypso to earthy blues, the ensemble paints a life-size portrait of the composer's intended target: straight-ahead jazz. Several tracks from this collection can be sampled at the label's web site .
Track Listing: Night to Remember; Calypso Bop; Jenny; Just Having Some Fun; One for Bobby; You are the One; A Distant Song; Take Me With You; One for Smith; Blues for T.H.; Beautiful Evening; Blues for Kenny B.; Coop; Nice Groove; Darling I Love You; Tears for Evans; Happy Day; Too Soon; I Never Knew Clifford; Tuesday Blues; I Couldn't Have Loved You More.
Personnel: Bobby Shew- trumpet, flugelhorn; Gary Foster- flute, alto flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Bill Cunliffe- piano; Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz- bass; Paul Kreibich- drums, wind chimes.