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Conte Candoli

Conte Candoli

During the 1950s Chet Baker received a great deal of publicity due to his drug problems. But Conte Candoli, not Baker or even the popular Shorty Rogers, was the best L.A.-based jazz trumpeter. Now 73, Candoli continues to perform laudably, as his recent albums on the Fresh Sound label, Portrait of a Count and Conte-nuity, indicate. He swings in a relaxed manner, improvising melodically. “I’m happy with [those CDs]. Having to avoid a lot of upper register work above high C has made me more creative. The key is to create on the tunes.”

If anything Candoli’s tone and lower register work are fuller and richer than ever because he doesn’t employ the upper register too much now due to recent dental problems. He was a high-note master as a youngster, but now Candoli says, “As long as I can create within the staff it’s fine.” On both Fresh Sound CDs Candoli leads a quartet containing bassist Chuck Berghofer, drummer Joe Labarbera and young pianist Jan Lundgren, a skilled, technically accomplished and knowledgeable repertoire musician.

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