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Bill Cunliffe: Imaginacion

Since winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Award in 1989, Los Angeles-based pianist-composer-arranger Bill Cunliffe has performed and recorded prolifically. Imaginacion features a collection of his eclectic Latin/Caribbean-style arrangements of originals (mostly his) and a few standards.

The focus is on Cunliffe as an arranger, since he does not solo on half the tracks. When he does play, however, he displays his usual sparkling inventiveness. But he doesn’t need to improvise on every tune thanks to such superb cohorts as tenorist/flutist Bob Sheppard, trumpeter Bobby Shew and trombonist Arturo Velasco. Cunliffe’s engaging charts are scored for a smallish ensemble that also includes a second trumpet and trombone and a rhythm section augmented by two percussionists.

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