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Thad Jones: Eclipse

Eclipse, the final big band Thad Jones fronted in Denmark before returning to the U.S. to lead the Basie band for a brief stint, was one of his most exciting. Fortunately, there is documentation in the form of Eclipse (Storyville): six studio tracks from September 1979 and six live tracks exactly one year later. The highly responsive 19-piece band included many American jazzmen living in Denmark at the time, including pianist Horace Parlan, trombonist Richard Boone, baritonist Sahib Shihab and drummer Ed Thigpen. Jones not only spread out the solos liberally but also the charts; only half of the dozen tracks are his. Jones’ funniest work features Boone singing a “square” “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” until the band stops him and sings, en masse, a hip version. Boone learns quickly and responds with his patented scat. The most complex arrangement is by Ole Nielsen for “Scrapple From the Apple,” with counterpoint on the bop line made denser as sections oppose each other-even the rhythm players hint at the bop line. At times it threatens to become fugal. It’s a brilliant workout.

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