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Phil Urso and Carl Saunders

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One of the finest albums of the early 2000s is Phil Urso and Carl Saunders Salute Chet Baker. Recorded in 2002 for the Jazzed Media label, the album featured tenor saxophonist Phil Urso and trumpeter Carl Saunders backed by a trio of Keith Waters (p), Colin Gieg (b) and Paul Romaine (d). The album revived the 1956 pairing of Urso and Baker and mid-1960s reunification of the pair, and featured several songs from what is perhaps their best album, Playboys, also known as Picture of Heath, recorded in November '56.

Carl Saunders may be unfamiliar to you. Trombonist Carl Fontana once referred to him as the “best trumpeter you've never heard." That's because starting in 1963, Saunders spent much of his career in Las Vegas, where he played in show bands. In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles and played with Bill Holman's orchestra. There also were stints with Supersax, the Dave Pell Octet and his own big band.

JazzWax clip: Here's the entire album...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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