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The Netherlands Metropole Orchestra, which spends much of its studio time supporting well–known Jazz musicians from other countries, showcases one of its own, the buttery–toned trombonist Bart van Lier, on Twilight. Van Lier, a master of his instrument if ever there was one, has long been a mainstay in the Metropole Orchestra (and many other top–flight big bands in Europe including those led by Peter Herbolzheimer). As for his playing, composer/arranger Bill Holman describes it concisely and flawlessly in the liner notes: “Imagination, wit, taste, heart, a warm sound and great technique . . .” Despite its crepuscular title, the session includes only two bona fide ballads, “Never Let Me Go” and “Impromptu.” Everything else is medium to up-tempo, with “I Hear a Rhapsody” taken at the fastest clip. Four of the newer works (“Introduction and Riffs,” “Twilight,” “Impromptu,” “Just Say Joe”) were composed by Vince Mendoza, the other (“Light and Shadow”) by Monika van Lier. Kenny Napper scored Jay Livingstone’s “Never Let Me Go,” which includes solos by violinist Ernö Olah and oboist Martin de Ruiter (who also solos on “Light and Shadow“). Van Lier plays it straight most of the way but lets out all the stops on “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” with an assortment of mutes and growls employed to underscore the bluesy design of its composer, Cole Porter. The Metropole has played and recorded with a number of eminent trombonists (Bob Brookmeyer, Andy Martin and Frank Rosolino among them) but needed to look no further than its own ranks to uncover one of the best. If you’re partial to trombone, this is about as good as it gets.
Track listing: I Hear a Rhapsody; Introduction and Riffs; Light and Shadow; Never Let Me Go; Twilight; You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To; Impromptu; Just Say Joe (48:59).
Bart van Lier, trombone, with the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra (personnel unlisted), conducted by Vince Mendoza and Rob Pronk.