George Masso Sextet: C’est Magnifique!

Followers of the Nagel-Heyer label know what to expect from this high quality, amazingly consistent German firm-hot, live, combo-jam performances by some of the best swing-oriented jazzmen in the world today-and this release will not let them down. Under the leadership of broad-toned, melodically imaginative trombonist George Masso, this 1999 Hamburg concert set features Boston trumpeter and flugelhornist Lou Columbo, Al Cohn/Zoot Sims-inspired tenorman Harry Allen and the typically well-meshed rhythm team of pianist Johnny Varro, acoustic bassist Phil Flanigan, a master of the “slap” technique, and veteran big-band and combo drummer Jake Hanna.

For this concert, Masso chose an unusual program of seven Cole Porter tunes done in a loosely played jam format popular among jazzmen in the 1930s and the prebop early ’40s. Although all performances are of even quality, personal preference goes to “It’s D’Lovely,” “What Is This Thing Called Love?,” “I Love You, Samantha,” and “Get Out of Town,” which is played here as a distinctly nonballadic swinger.