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Oliver Pospiech's Small Big Band: Cool Blue

Jack Bowers By

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Pospiech's band may be small in size (the core group is actually an octet) but not in artistry or charisma. For his debut as leader the German-born valve trombonist, who cites Rob McConnell and Bob Brookmeyer among his influences (and sounds almost like them), has chosen his sidemen and his music with great care. The rhythm section is first-class with the versatile American drummer Jeff Hamilton cooking alongside bassist John Goldsby (best known for his work with the WDR Big Band) and a tasteful young pianist, Olaf Polziehn. Joining Pospiech on the front line are four marvelous team players and innovative soloists - trumpeter Andy Haderer, alto Oliver Leicht, tenor Nils van Haften and baritone Marcus Bartelt. Till Brönner, one of Germany's most acclaimed Jazz trumpet masters, appears as guest soloist on Fats Navarro's "Nostalgia," Phil Braham's "Limehouse Blues" (terrific chart too) and one of Pospiech's two compositions, "Coastline" (the other is "Sheep Coat Shuffle"). Brönner lives up to his reputation, smacking a home run every time at bat. A second guest, vocalist Silvia Droste, is heard on "The Man I Love" and "Cry Me a River." While everyone is given room to solo and blows with intensity and assurance, Pospiech is especially effective on his features, Django Reinhardt's "Nuages," Cole Porter's "Everything I Love" (one of my personal favorite tunes) and Isham Jones' "It Had to Be You." While comparisons are always difficult (and seldom accurate), if you've heard the Phil Norman Tentet (On the Town) or the Jim Cifelli Nonet (Bullet Trane), you'll at least have an idea of what to expect from Cool Blue. With all due respect to the US of A, this is as good as anything you'll hear from the Big Apple, Chi-town, the City of Angels or anywhere else in the Land of the Free. If you appreciate "little big bands" (as I do), you can't go wrong with Pospiech's undersized yet able-bodied ensemble.

Track Listing: Soft Winds; Nostalgia; Sheep Coat Shuffle; Nuages; When Your Lover Has Gone; Everything I Love; The Man I Love; It Had to Be You; Limehouse Blues; Cry Me a River; Coastline (50:35).

Personnel: Oliver Pospiech, valve trombone, arranger; Andy Haderer, trumpet; Till Br

Title: Cool Blue | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Mons


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