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Commodores Jazz Ensemble: Three Shades of Blue

Talk about firepower; this naval engagement blasts “aweigh” with a sound as big as an aircraft carrier: four trumpets, four ‘bones, five saxes, four rhythm and a female singer. It’s a well-trained unit boasting outstanding arrangements of originals and standards from band members under the direction of Capt. Ralph Gambone.

Timothy Stanley plays a great trumpet solo on “Night in Tunisia,” which features an excellent arrangement by Dan LaMaestra. William Mulligan offers memorable soprano sax solos on “Revell’s Reverie” and “Green Umbrella,” the latter a fascinating study in colors, particularly for winds, anchored by an uncredited bass clarinetist. Singer Yolanda Pelzer scores heavily with “I’ll Take Romance.” She has a strong rangy voice and isn’t fazed by switching 5/4 and 6/4 or ending with the firm words “take romance” an octave higher. Trombonist Jennifer Krupa provides a cooking plunger solo on Tommy Flanagan’s bop line “Freight Trane.” The most intense swinging comes from baritonist Robert Holmes and tenorist Luis Hernandez on the shouter “Cathal Brugha Blues.”

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