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Andy Middleton: Reinventing the World

To put on this album is to suddenly realize that there are not enough octet recordings. No doubt, economic factors play a role in this scarcity, and CDs by trios and quartets and quintets come in waves. But little big bands, like Andy Middleton’s octet, open otherwise unreachable possibilities of scale and texture and complexity while remaining nimble enough to stay out of the way of the soloists.

Middleton’s writing creatively and carefully exploits the resources of the octet format, with a satisfying poise between 21st-century currency and listener-friendly accessibility. Yet Reinventing the World is a title that does not seem to fit music that is neither radical nor revolutionary.

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