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Maynard has scaled back the personnel of his orchestra in recent years but his 10-piece Big Bob Nouveau still packs a hefty punch. They provide plenty of brassy backing and rhythmic muscle for Maynard's lip-busting high note gyrations. Although he has recently shown a certain degree of restraint, the seventy-year-old trumpeter is still capable of uncorking the kind of stratospheric barrages that made him famous. Brass Attitude kicks off with a punchy, boppish arrangement of Just Friends, featuring Tom Garling and Carl Fischer trading licks on superbones (a combined valve and slide trombone). Garling provided the arrangements for three of the CD's nine tunes and he also penned the lovely Waltz For Nicole and the Brazilian romp, Knee Deep In Rio. Baritone saxophonist Denis DiBlasio strikes a humorous note with, The Lip, his scatting vocal tribute to the leader. For the set closer, Caruso, Maynard switches to the warm-toned flugelhorn for a duet with p! ianist Ron Oswanski. I often find much of M.F.'s output a bit bombastic but, Brass Attitude contains enough variety to earn a guarded recommendation. ***
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.