"JUSTIN TIME RECORDS 25TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION"
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These 27 tracks serve as grand markers in the ascent of Justin Time Records to the top rungs of the jazz recording industry.
There is the big time big band of Denny Christenson featuring the lyrical deep toned baritone sax of Pepper Adams knocking out a lush version of "My Funny Valentine." Two Canadian musicians deserving wider recognition — pianist Oliver Jones and singer Ranee Lee — are heard on "Until I Was Loved." Hall of Fame pianist Hank Jones contributes a gorgeous version of "Softly as In a Morning Sunrise."
The second disc begins with the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir delivering a stirring rendition of "Highway to Heaven." Saxophonist Pharoah Sanders is featured with David Murray and Gwo Ka Masters performing "Gwotet." Vocalist Jeri Brown gets downright sexy as she teams with pianist Jimmy Rowles for "Baby Don't Quit Now."
One tune certain to recall a different time is David Clayton Thomas singing his classic "Spinning Wheel." This is a remarkable collection in and of itself.
"THROUGH MY EYES"
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Singer Joanna Pascale dips into the great American songbook for 10 tunes she does-up in fine style.
She never goes wrong with such tunes as "When I Grow too Old to Dream," "Our Day Will Come," "Easy to Love," "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," "Blue Gardenia," "PS I Love You," and more.
Saxophonist Tim Warfield and her rhythm section led by pianist Andrew Adair are excellent with their support.
"THEN, NOW AND AGAIN"
CNY JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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This is a powerhouse big band awash in great arrangements, diverse tunes and exciting soloists.
The Central New York band is everything you could expect or want in a big band. This, its debut recording, opens with "Get Smart," the theme from the old television series and now a first run movie.
Led by music director Bret Zwacek, the music on the CD consists of compositions and arrangements by band members. There is not one name in this great band familiar to me. Yet still their music is five star, as it ranges from the brassy "Hip Not Hop" to the ultra-cool "The Midnight Sun Will Never Set." It also indicates the depth of musical talent in the New York City area.
LARRY VUCKOVICH TRIO
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The title tune here, "High Wall," is taken from the 1947 film of the same name starring Robert Taylor.
The liner notes indicate it is reminiscent of Billy Strayhorn's "Passion Flower," written in 1941. Whatever, it is a beautiful although melancholic ballad which Vuckovich articulates fully. Larry Grenadier's bass is an essential ingredient which combines with Eddie Marshall's drums and the bongos of Hector Lugo give it that certain flavor.
A quick switch to the next track to bebop and Dizzy Gillespie's "Ow," Vuckovich then moves to a funky "Put It Where You Want It" from the Joe Sample song book. Marshall and Lugo are responsible for the funky groove. Bassist Paul Keller and drummer Chuck McPherson are heard on several cuts.