Ryan Haines’ second big-band CD employs a cadre of excellent players from the Washington, D.C., region, many of them affiliated with the area’s fine military jazz ensembles. On a varied mainstream program of Haines originals (plus his elegant arrangement of “America the Beautiful”), the band displays exemplar precision and cohesiveness and swings as hard as anybody around. Haines’ well-crafted charts range from the lovely contemporary tune “Without You,” featuring the leader’s trombone over woodwinds and muted brass, to the racing “No Harm, No Foul,” where Haines and tenor-man Tedd Baker demonstrate masterful control of their instruments and of the hard-bop vocabulary, and the ensemble flawlessly executes some truly demanding passages. Lighthearted fun is provided by “Swing Open,” a medium-up blues that recreates the big-band sound of the swing era.
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