Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Tribute To Herbie +1; Dick Oatts / Mats Holmquist New York Jazz Orchestra

As good as these tunes sounded in Herbie Hancock's small group setting of the 1960's, they take on new luster and excitement in this big band edition. Dick Oatts is of course a multi-reed veteran of many big bands. On this session he is heard on both alto and soprano saxophones. Mats Holmquist, a new name to me, is in charge of the arrangements and his writing is dense and orchestral in nature, perhaps reminiscent of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. The "+1" in the album title refers to "Steve R", Holmquist's composition, and the only one not written by Hancock. Herbie's "greatest hits", "Cantaloupe Island", "Dolphin Dance", "Maiden Voyage", and "Watermelon Man" are joined by lesser known of his works with a bristling, take no prisoners attitude featuring fiery, full flavored passages and very generous solo space. Besides the solo from Oatts, trumpet ace Joe Magnarelli is on the gig as is Gotham tenorman Walt Weiskopf. The piano work of Adam Birnbaum was also solid throughout. So it's a new attire for all these Herbie Hancock creations. And it wears extremely well.
Summit; probably 2016; appx. 71 min.

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