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Bruce Eskovitz Jazz Orchestra: Invitation

How do you make a small band sound like a big band? Call Dr. Bruce Eskovitz, an imaginative arranger who can splash color over his scores. He also knows the right five players who can double on their horns to bring those colors to swinging life. Add the same number of pulsating rhythm players and you have Eskovitz’s second exciting “big” band album, over an hour of hard-swinging, straight-ahead, good-time modern jazz. It begins with pianist Mark Balling making like 10 trumpeters announcing a fanfare for the exhilarating samba, “Breakthrough,” and ends in church with the gospel-flavored “One Last Time” as bassist Adam Cohen and Balling, on organ, provide a sacred cushion for the impassioned pleas of tenorist Eskovitz and trumpeter Larry Williams. Between those two Eskovitz originals, the most exciting high point is “Latin Fever.” Encouraged by Balling’s montuno, trumpeters Williams and Jeff Jarvis engage in a feverish conversation, conjuring up enough grease to slide the whole session to Spanish Harlem. Not to be overlooked, Eskovitz’s solo skills: equally at home in the hard-edged baritone range, he can use his high tenor range to coax a cautious reaction to the sign, “Detour Ahead.”

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