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Mike Barone Big Band: Live 2005!

Mike Barone has never met a reharmonized chord he didn’t like. Listen carefully to “When You’re Smiling” and you’ll be hip to his arranging trademarks: wide-open voicings and chordal clusters, constant tampering with meters, dynamic shadings, modulations at precisely the right psychological moment, getting bitonal for effect, leaving plenty of stretch-out room for soloists and, above all, his musical sense of humor.

Check those minor seconds on trumpets and saxes, simulating “ha-ha-ha,” and pianist John Proulx’s attempt to duplicate earlier orchestral pyramids with a melodramatic arpeggio. And that’s just the first track! The other nine tracks have Barone’s DNA on every measure.

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