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Without a doubt this is the best big band to come along in many a year. The speed burners will knock your socks off, and the ballads will send romance wafting around like the sweet smell of Joy Perfume.
The sections feature the best musicians in the business; the leader, trumpet virtuoso Carl Saunders, is in a class by himself. Some beautiful Herb Phillips arrangements, aided by exquisite playing from the soloists, make this recording a true work of jazz art.
"Compilation" features a blistering solo by Saunders, paying proper homage to Mr. Gillespie along the way. Bob McChesney's slide trombone solo is as 'noteworthy' as anything extant from a valve 'bone... Jerry Pinter on tenor and the estimable Christian Jacob at the piano add a very fine puncuation mark to the explosive opener.
On "Perceptive Hindsight," Doug Webbs' saxophone is a study in advanced Tenorology. Trumpet master Ron Stout enters on the ground floor and takes us to the penthouse, where beautiful phrases abound and sweet ideas reside. Christian Jacob adds his special touch in closing. On "Strike Out The Band," Bobby Shew delivers his trademark smooth tone and rapid fire style, putting his stamp on this tune with a flair. "Autumn In New York" is a tour de force for Saunders, his sound as clean as the board of health and much more ascetic.
Down the road comes "An Apple For Christa." A blazing tempo and a blistering soliloquy showcase the work of his eminence Bob Summers. His playing is a case study for all trumpeters-to-be. The closer, "Baby Blues," is a call and answer piece with everyone eventually taking part. Saunders punctuates his extended phrases, humor, and speed with the upper register work that made "His Highness" famous.
The Be Bop Big Band is the best of the big bands, and this disc won't be forgotten any time soon.
Track Listing: Compilation, Love Dance, Emily, I'm All For You, Perceptive
Hindsight,Never Always, Some Bones Of Contention, Strike Out The Band,
Autumn In New York, Dearly Befuddled, An Apple For Christa, Baby Blues.
Personnel: Carl Saunders, Frank Szabo, Bobby Shew, Ron Stout, Bob Summers, Scott Englebright (3, 8, 9), trumpet; Charlie Loper, Andy Martin, Bob McChesney, trombone; Pete Brockman, Sam Cernuto (3, 8, 9), bass trombone; Lanny Morgan, Brian Scanlon, alto sax; Jerry Pinter, Doug Webb, tenor sax; Bob Efford, baritone sax; Christian Jacob, piano; Kevin Axt, bass; Santo Savino, drums.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.