Though perhaps best known as arranger/pianist for the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, an association that goes way back, Jim McNeely has written plenty of original tunes for big bands and orchestras both in the States and overseas. With Group Therapy, OmniTone set McNeely up in the studio with an agile little big band and a chance to show off all his tuneful goods at once. McNeely, in turn, set the band loose on a host of his own wild originals and his creative rearrangements. The band is just big enough to give McNeely a thick big-band sound when he wants it, but small enough to encourage/force McNeely to get creative with his voicings. With wildcard French hornist Tom Varner in the mix, the band gives McNeely a pretty rich sonic palette with which to work and he certainly works it.
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