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Mike Barone Big Band: Metropole

Ever wonder why certain leaders (particularly those who build a core group of sidemen for their rehearsal bands) can always count on the loyalty of the best readers and swingers? Just listen to any Mike Barone album and read its liner notes. Barone is one of the best arrangers in Los Angeles; short on ego, long on humor, and crediting every player who can be heard, including the fact that Lee Thornburg and Pete DeSiena share first trumpet chair. In a band of sparkling soloists, certain solos stand out: tenorists Ernie Watts and Vince Trombetta, for their intensely swinging counterpoint on Coltrane’s “Grand Central”; altoist Kim Richards and bassist Joel Hamilton for solo stints on “No One Else But Me” that evolve into a two-part invention; trumpeter Bob Summers and pianist John Proulx, for solos on “Dat Dere”; and two laid-back trumpet solos revealing an equally intelligent approach to swinging at different tempos (Steve Huffsteter on “I Won’t Dance” and Thornburg on “Blues in the Night”). Pay attention to drummer Paul Kreibich and bassist Hamilton throughout for their instinctive gap filling while underpinning the band.

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