Stockholm Jazz Orchestra and Jim McNeely: Sound Bites

Possessing sectional skills of the highest order, the players of the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra steer their effortless ways through the intricacies of Jim McNeely’s challenging charts with such spirit and polish that they put most American college-based orchestras to shame. Most widely remembered for his long tenure in Phil Woods’ quartet, pianist McNeely is also an orchestral composer/arranger of merit, as is evidenced throughout this album. Fellow former Thad Jones/Mel Lewis sideman, altoist/sopranist Dick Oatts is featured on most of the tracks, which also showcase some of the better contemporary Swedish jazzmen. McNeely’s originals include “Pete’s Feet,” the multi tempoed “Sound Bites,” the long modal “Empty House,” and the reggae-rooted “305,” but the best moments occur on Oatts’ “Yesterdays,” “In A Sentimental Mood” and “The Song Is You.”