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John Van Ohlen/Chuck Carter/Steve Allee Big Band: Downtown Blues

Downtown Blues combines three live recordings, and reflects the evolution of this big band from 1977 to November and December of 1982. Von Ohlen used to be Stan Kenton’s drummer and Carter played saxophone with the band. Allee composes, arranges, and plays keyboards. Based in Indianapolis, the band (or bands) boasts excellent players, several with national reputations. Von Ohlen, Allee, or band member Steve Corn composed all but four of the twelve charts, with Allee arranging three of the non-originals. Heavy, fiery brass suggests a Kenton influence, but some quiet moments provide contrast and Carter’s vocal send up of Fats Waller, “The Joint Is Jumpin’, ” is a break-up. As could be expected, the rhythm section’s presence is strong.

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