James Moody, tenor/flute; Jimmy heath, tenor; Frank Wess, alto/flute; Antonio Hart, alto; Gary Smulyan, baritone; Jon Faddis, Earl Gardner, Greg Gisbert, Terrell Stafford, Claudio Roditi, trumpet; Slide Hampton, Jay Ashby, David Gibson, trombone; Douglas Purviance, bass trombone; Renee Rosnes, piano; Marty Ashby, guitar; John Lee, bass; Dennis Mackrel, drums; Duke, percussion
Better go buy this one immediately. This is a collection of guys, and one extremely talented lady, who have played a great part, over many decades, in forming the history of mainstream Jazz. The Alumni Big Band, under the direction of Jon Faddis, swings in the insouciant, relaxed manner (when they don't go into orbit) only to be achieved by the very best musicians.
The arrangements are worked through with a matter-of-fact professionalism, which is in no way meant to be derogatory. The section work is glorious, and the solos blow you away. Check the lineup, this is the cream.
But now to the lady. Renee Rosnes more than holds her own among all these monsters. One is bound to ask where someone, apparently so frail, got all that power? There are elements of Ellington, before she roams, giving the others a display of her talent.
This Dizzy Gillespie tribute features a fair slice of the man's book, with Jon Faddis more than capably, "uncannily," filling the chair, and he can be sensational at the drop of a hat. By the time the end comes, with "A Night inTunisia," you want it to go on forever. The solos are incomparable. It must have been wonderful to have been in the audience. Highly recommended.
by Lawrence Brazier
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